MONKFISH STEW WITH WINE, PEPPERS, AND ALMONDS
The CIA Cookbook
by The Culinary Institute of America
For an elegant presentation, you can puree the vegetables and broth before you add the ground almonds. This recipe is for a chunky, rustic stew with lots of textures and colors. A flameproof earthenware casserole, or cazuela, is perfect for this dish, but be certain that any earthenware cookware is manufactured to stand up to direct heat.
Makes 6 servings
• 1/3 cup olive oil
• 2½ lb monkfish fillets, cut into 2-inch cubes
• Salt as needed
• Freshly ground black pepper as needed
• 2 cups sliced yellow onion
• 1½ cups thinly sliced carrots
• 2 tsp thinly sliced garlic
• 2 cups diced plum tomatoes
• 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
• 2½ cups Fish or Vegetable Broth
• 2/3 cup dry white wine
• 1 bay leaf
• 1/3 cup whole blanched almonds
• 8 to 10 saffron threads, lightly crushed
• 1 1/3 cups green peas, blanched if fresh or thawed if frozen
• 1 cup roasted red bell pepper strips
1. Heat half of the olive oil in a casserole or cazuela over medium-high heat until it shimmers. Season the monkfish with salt and pepper. Sauté in the hot oil until it is colored on both sides, 3 to 4 minutes. Work in batches to avoid overcrowding the pan. Transfer to a plate or dish with a slotted spoon letting the oil drain back into the casserole.
2. Return the casserole to the stove and heat the remaining oil until it shimmers. Add the onion, carrots, and i teaspoon garlic and sauté, stirring occasionally, until translucent, about 6 minutes. Add the tomatoes and cook until tender and broken down, then add the flour. Stir well to blend the flour in evenly and cook until pasty, about 5 minutes.
3. Stir in the broth and wine until evenly blended. Use a whisk if necessary to work out any lumps in the stew. Add the bay leaf and bring the mixture to a boil. Immediately reduce the heat until the mixture simmers slowly. Simmer, stirring frequently, until thickened and flavorful, 10 to 12 minutes.
4. Pound the almonds, saffron, and the remaining garlic in a mortar and pestle or chop them together with a chef's knife to a coarse paste. Add the paste to the tomato and broth mixture, stir well, and simmer 2 to 3 minutes.
5. Arrange the monkfish on top of the stew and top with the peas and roasted peppers. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Cover tightly and simmer until the fish is opaque throughout, 10 to 12 minutes. Serve in heated bowls.