monkfish tail with castillian potatoes
 
 

Monkfish is one of those straightforward, sensible fish with just the one bone that runs down the middle of the tail, so it's extremely convenient for anyone who hates dealing with fiddly bones. 

1 x 1-1.5kg monkfish tail, skinned 
5-6 slices of paper-thin cured streaky bacon or pancetta (optional) 
2-3 tbsp olive oil 
Salt and freshly ground white pepper 

for the potatoes 
60ml olive oil 
1 small onion, peeled and finely chopped 
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed 
½ tsp smoked paprika 
A pinch of saffron strands or powder 
1tsp tomato paste 
800g large waxy new potatoes, eg charlotte, peeled and quartered if very large or otherwise halved 
1 bay leaf 
1 litre vegetable stock 

Pre heat the oven to 220º/430ºF/gas mark 7. Gently cook the onion and garlic in the olive oil until soft but not coloured in a saucepan, frying pan, or, ideally, if you have one, a flame-proof casserole. Add the paprika and cook for another minute to release the flavour. Add the saffron, tomato paste, potatoes, bay leaf and stock, season with salt and pepper and bring to the boil. Simmer gently, stirring occasionally, for about 15 minutes until most of the liquid has disappeared and the potatoes are almost cooked. 

Meanwhile with a sharp knife make about 5 or 6 incisions about ½ cm deep along the monkfish. Wrap the bacon around the fish in a spiral fashion leaving a 3-4cm space between the slices. Heat a heavy frying pan with some of the olive oil until it's almost smoking, season with pepper only and brown the monkfish on both sides.

If you're not already cooking them in one, put the potatoes into an oven dish large enough to fit the monkfish. Place the monkfish on top, then put on the lid and cook for 30 minutes.

Serve at the table cutting the fish through the bone, or fillet the pieces of fish - they'll come away easily from the bone - and serve on top of the potatoes.