monkfish fritters with cumin, garlic and pimenton

This is known as cazon en adobo in Cadiz, adobo being a cumin- and oregano-flavoured marinade for pork and fish, and the most popular fish there being dogfish.

I felt quite nostalgic wandering through the Mercado de Abastos, seeing piles of whole dogfish, both smooth hounds and lesser and greater spotted. In the 1970s, lots of Padstow lobster fishermen used to go fishing for dogfish in the winter months when it was too rough for shellfish. These days you don't see them much as they were overfished. I have written this recipe for firm-textured monkfish instead.

serves 4 people as a starter

400g monkfish
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp sherry vinegar
1 clove of garlic, grated
½ tsp sweet smoked paprika (pimenton dulce)
½ tsp dried oregano
1 tsp cumin seeds
100g semolina
200ml olive oil, for frying
I lemon, cut into wedges, to serve
Mayonnaise, to serve

Cut the fish into 4cm cubes, discarding any skin and bone. Put in a glass or ceramic bowl. Mix together the 2 tbsp olive oil, vinegar, l tbsp water, garlic, paprika, oregano, 10 turns of a black peppermill, ½ tsp salt and half of the cumin seeds. Pour over the fish and mix well. Marinate for at least 2 hours.

Drain the fish, dredge in semolina and fry the pieces a few at a time in hot olive oil until golden and crisp. Drain on paper towel and serve hot, sprinkled with the remaining cumin seeds. Serve with the lemon wedges and mayonnaise on the side.