Saturday, April 11, 2009

Monkfish with Curried Lentils and Brown Butter Cauliflower

This recipe is based on a Bon Appetit recipe that I got via Epicurious, but I modified it to (1) reduce the carb level, (2) deal with some of the blandness issues that the commenters complained about, and (3) correct the very wrong cooking times.

Monkfish with Curried Lentils and Brown Butter Cauliflower

  • 1 small head cauliflower, cut into florets
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg (use fresh nutmeg and grate it yourself)
  • salt and white pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped peeled carrots
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped celery
  • 1/2 cup French green lentils
  • 1/2 teaspoon curry powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1-1/4 cups water
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • chicken or other stock as desired
  • salt to taste
  • 2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) butter
  • 1 small head cauliflower, cut into small florets
  • salt to taste
  • 4 6-ounce monkfish fillets (each about 1 inch thick), skin removed
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • fresh lemon

This recipe is really three (or four) parts, and they can all be done separately. (And, yes, there are supposed to be 2 heads of cauliflower; you use them in different parts.)

1. The cauliflower purée "sauce"

Bring first 4 ingredients to boil in medium saucepan. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer until cauliflower is very tender, about 17 minutes. Cool slightly. Transfer mixture to blender (or food processor, or just use an immersion blender); puree until smooth. Season with salt and white pepper. This can be made far ahead of time and reheated.

2. Lentils/cauliflower

Heat oil in medium saucepan over medium heat. Add onion, carrots, and celery; sauté until just soft. Add lentils, curry, paprika; and cayenne pepper; stir. Add 1 1/4 cups water and wine; bring to boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer until lentils are tender, stirring occasionally. The original recipe says that this this will take 30 minutes. I think this depends entirely on the type of lentils that you use, and the wonderful French green ones take quite a bit longer than that... more like 45 or 50 minutes. So start this way ahead of time, and don't start the cauliflower step until the lentils

Meanwhile (see note above), cook butter in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until browned, about 2 minutes. Add cauliflower; sauté until beginning to brown, about 5 minutes. Add 1/4 cup water; cover and cook until cauliflower is crisp-tender and water evaporates, about 10 minutes longer (at least). Stir in lentil mixture. Season with salt and pepper.

This can be made ahead and rewarmed, too. In fact, if you were making this for something like a dinner party, you could make everything except the fish earlier and just reheat.

Finally.... sprinkle monkfish with salt and pepper. Heat oil in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add fish; sauté until just opaque in center, about 6 minutes per side. Squeeze fresh lemon onto the fish. (You could use any firm white fish).

Divide sauce among 4 plates. Spoon lentil mixture alongside. Place fish atop lentils.

The original recipe, which you can find here, had a gremoulata for the top of the fish, but I didn't have any parsley, so I skipped it, and I really don't think it's necessary.

The main carb source in this dish is the lentils. I cut them in half (relative to the original recipe), so if this recipe serves 4, it's about 15 net carbs from the lentils (and a little more from the cauliflower). Not induction-friendly, but not excessive.

The vegetable mixture in this is great without the fish, too, just as a side dish for anything. It has a nice curried kick to it. It's also really easy after you do it once; it looks complicated, but it's not.

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