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Monkfish with White Beans

Whenever you cook with wine, use a good-quality bottle that you would want to drink, rather than anything labeled “cooking wine.” In a recipe such as this, where only a small amount of wine is required, plan to serve the same wine that you use in the recipe with dinner.

Ingredients:

  • 1 can (15 oz.) canned white beans such as cannellini or Great Northern, drained and rinsed
  • 1 large fennel bulb
  • 2 Tbs. olive oil
  • 1 1/2 lb. monkfish fillet, skin and membranes removed, and fillet cut into 8 pieces
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 2 Tbs. dry white wine
  • 1 can (14 1/2 oz.) diced plum tomatoes with juice

Directions:

Warm the beans and cook the fish
Preheat an oven to 175°F. Spread the beans in a deep heatproof serving dish and put in the oven to warm.

Trim the fennel bulb, reserving 2 Tbs. of the fronds for garnish. Use a sharp knife or mandoline to slice the bulb very thinly. In a large fry pan over low heat, warm the oil. Add the sliced fennel and cook, stirring occasionally, until it begins to brown, about 5 minutes.

Season the fish lightly on both sides with salt and pepper. Add the fish to the pan with the wine, cover tightly and cook over low heat for 10 minutes. Add the tomatoes, re-cover and simmer until the fish is opaque throughout, about 10 minutes more.

Make the sauce
Remove the beans from the oven. Using a slotted spoon, lift the fish from the pan and set on top of the beans. Spoon as much of the fennel and tomatoes as possible over and around the fish, leaving the cooking liquid in the pan. Return the pan to high heat, bring the liquid to a boil and cook until reduced by half. Taste and adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper. Pour the sauce over the fish, garnish with the reserved fennel fronds and serve immediately. Serves 4.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Food Made Fast Series, Seafood, by Jay Harlow (Oxmoor House, 2007).