The following recipe is my adaptation of a dish my friend San Francisco-based chef Laurent Manrique created in my kitchen. I made one change in Laurent’s recipe in order to make it easier to prepare. In my version given below, I sauté the monkfish on top of the stove, then let it rest while I make a simple, flavorful sauce. Laurent, on the other hand, brought with him a very delicious and complex Bordelaise sauce, made with reduced white wine, port, chopped shallots, thyme, bay leaf, and veal demi-glace, and enriched with beef marrow.
When Laurent prepared this dish in my house, he used one of my earthenware Moroccan tagines for a stunning presentation. About 12 minutes before serving, he reheated the juicy slices of monkfish, glazed roasted chestnuts, and braised slices of fennel on a bed of fig leaves in the tagine. The fish reheated quickly, and the earthenware kept it warm until we were ready to eat.
The Slow Mediterranean Kitchen by Paula Wolfert. Copyright © 2003 by Paula Wolfert. Photographs copyright © by Christopher Hirsheimer. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. All rights reserved.