Monkfish with Cucumber and Vermouth Sauce

This recipe is designed as a first course, but will serve equally well as a light main course for three. It is a particular favourite of mine and tends to reappear quite regularly on our lunch menu.


  • 1 X 675-750 g/1½-1¾ lb monkfish tail
  • 85 ml/3 fl oz dry vermouth
  • 150 ml/¼ pint fish stock
  • Salt and freshly ground white pepper
  • 23 cm/9 inch piece of cucumber, weighing about 275 g/10 oz
  • 300 ml/½ pint double cream


Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F/Gas Mark 6.

Fillet and skin the monkfish tail and remove and discard any dark meat. Cut the flesh into 2.5 cm/1 inch cubes, allowing 4 pieces to a portion. Place the cubes of fish in an ovenproof pan along with the vermouth and the fish stock, and season with salt and freshly ground white pepper. Cover with buttered paper or foil and poach in the oven for 3-4 minutes.

Meanwhile, cut the cucumber width wise into 4 cm/1½ inch lengths and then each piece in 6 lengthwise. ‘Turn’ each piece of cucumber into a small barrel shape.

When the fish is cooked, remove from the liquor, drain, cover and keep warm. Reduce the liquor until syrupy and then add the cream and the cucumber barrels. Reduce again until the sauce has thickened, by which time the cucumber should be just cooked.


  • Sprigs of fresh dill

To Serve

Reheat the monkfish in the sauce for 1 minute. Place the fish and the cucumber on the plates (I find a soup plate is best for this), pour over the sauce and garnish with sprigs of fresh dill.