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Monkfish with Olives and Artichokes (Lotte de Mer aux Olives et Artichauts)

Monkfish with Olives and Artichokes (Lotte de Mer aux Olives et Artichauts)
In spring, artichokes are found in this simple braise popular along the Mediterranean coast, but in summer and fall it might include sweet red peppers, tomatoes or eggplant.

Ingredients:

  • 2 lemons, halved
  • 16 small artichokes
  • 3 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 1/4 lb. monkfish fillet, cut into slices 1 inch
      thick
  • 1 tsp. minced fresh thyme
  • 1 tsp. minced fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • Scant 1/2 tsp. freshly ground pepper
  • 1/4 cup chicken stock
  • 3 Tbs. dry white wine
  • 1/4 cup Niçoise olives or other small
      Mediterranean-style black olives

Directions:

Preheat an oven to 400°F.

Have ready a large bowl of water to which you have added the juice of 1 lemon. Working with 1 artichoke at a time, cut off the stem near the base. Snap off the first layer of leaves. Cut off the upper third of the artichoke. Rub the cut surfaces with a lemon half. Continue to peel back and snap off leaves until you reach the tender, pale inner yellow leaves. Cut off any remaining tough leaf tips and rub with a lemon. If the choke has developed prickly tips, scoop it out with the edge of a spoon. Cut each artichoke lengthwise into 4 or 6 pieces and drop into the lemon water. When ready to cook, drain the artichokes and pat dry.

In an ovenproof pan or baking dish over medium heat, warm the olive oil. Add the garlic and artichokes and sauté until the artichokes begin to turn golden and soften, 5 to 6 minutes. Gently stir in the fish, thyme, parsley, pepper, stock, wine and olives. Cover and bake until the artichoke bottoms are easily pierced and the fish is opaque throughout, 15 to 20 minutes.

Using a slotted spoon, transfer the fish to a warmed platter. Spoon the artichokes and olives around the fish, then spoon a little of the broth over all and serve.
Serves 4.
Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Savoring Series, Savoring France, by Georgeanne Brennan (Time-Life Books, 1999).