At a time in the not-too-distant past, some friends and I were looking for a place to for dinner before a gig, and found ourselves at Prawn on the Lawn, a fishmonger/tiny restaurant in Islington, north London.
All their seafood is sourced from Britain, and they use some of that delicious local production for a small menu of dishes in an even smaller space.
Our table was a barrel (literally), and we squished together, 3 of us, slurping oysters and sampling each others’ main dishes. PS: If you go, have the expensive but absolutely delicious soda bread and butter.
The monkfish and chorizo stew was the inspiration for this recipe, and I have come up with my own version based on what I remembered it tasting of and what I like to eat.
In the UK, monkfish are a sustainable species, though they were in trouble for a while. It’s been an interesting ride for the monkfish as a food source. It went from a “trash fish” to “poor man’s lobster” to a delicacy that needed to be protected, and now it’s a sustainable, meaty and generally easy to find fish.
PS: Did you know that monkfish is a type of angler? No wonder you never see a whole one at the fishmonger, they are pretty ugly fish.
This stew is hearty and warming, but not so hearty that you can’t enjoy it in the spring… though if you’re enjoying a spring that’s more like summer, you might want to save this recipe for the inevitable cooler days.
Serves: 2 hearty portions/4 with a starter or bread
Cook time: 35 minutes, not including prep
On the Counter
350 g monkfish cut into chunks
50 g chorizo
1 (400 g/14.5 oz) canned tomatoes
600 mL vegetable or fish stock
50 g carrots, about 1 large carrot
1 yellow or orange pepper
1 medium onion
1 stalk of celery
2 garlic cloves
2 tsp vegetable oil
1 tsp smoked paprika
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1 tsp salt
fresh parsley, chopped for serving
What to Do
Dice up the vegetables into bite-sized pieces, and mince the garlic. If you’re not very fond of celery, chop it smaller. Also dice the chorizo into 1 cm (1/4 inch) pieces.
Meanwhile, turn the oven on to broil/grill and roast the pepper on each side for 1-2 minutes, until blackened. Once it’s ready, put it in a bowl and cover with a cloth until it’s cool enough to touch. Peel it, removed the seeds and chop it.
In soup pot or casserole pot, heat the oil over medium-low until it shimmers. Add in the celery, carrots and onion until they start to soften, about 5 minutes. Push the vegetables to the side of the pan and add in the chorizo. Fry it, stirring, until it starts melting and browning, another 3-4 minutes.
Stir in the tomatoes, breaking up the large pieces with a wooden spoon. Add in the roasted pepper, stock, paprika, red pepper flakes and salt. Stir. Simmer, covered, on low heat for 10 minutes.
After the 10 minutes are up, add the monkfish pieces and cover the pot again. Let it cook for another 15 minutes.
Sprinkle fresh parsley in each bowl and serve.