Quantities are approximate and per person
- 120-150g monkfish tail, cut from the wide end
- 40g Quark (if you can’t find it, substitute another soft white cheese such as ricotta)
- Generous teaspoon of chopped fresh herbs – I use parsley and dill
- Grated rind of ¼ lemon
- 1 thin slice Serrano or Parma ham (or similar)
- 1 shallot (or ½ small onion)
- 6 cherry tomatoes
- 1 tsp olive oil
- Black olives (pitted)
- 75ml dry white wine
- First prepare the base vegetable ingredients. Wash the tomatoes and cut in halves. Peel the shallot and slice thinly. Fry the shallot slices in as little oil as possible until they are just coloured (about 2 minutes) then remove and lay on kitchen paper to soak up most of the oil.
- Take a baking dish, sized to hold the fish pieces, and ideally about 5cm deep. Place the shallots in a layer at the bottom.
- Preheat the oven to 190C, gas 5
- Cutting from one side, carefully remove the centre bone from each piece of monkfish, keeping the two sides connected at the bottom if possible
- Mix the Quark with the herbs and lemon rind
- Lay the slice of ham flat – it should be about 20cm long and 8-10cm wide. If your ham slices are smaller, you may need 2!
- Lay the piece of monkfish on top of the ham in the centre, join downwards. If you accidentally cut through the joint, lay the two half pieces of monkfish side by side
- Push the cheese stuffing into the gap between the two halves of monkfish
- Wrap the ham round the stuffed fish. If you cut the joint (or even if you didn’t and it’s falling to pieces), anchor the two halves and the ham with toothpicks.
- Lay the ham-wrapped fish pieces on top of the shallots. Surround with the tomatoes and olives, and pour over the wine. You probably don’t need to add salt, as the ham should be enough.
- Cover the dish with foil and roast in the oven for 15 minutes, then remove the foil and continue cooking for a further 5 minutes to crisp the ham.
- Serving suggestions: green beans or broccoli go well. An alternative/additional option, particularly if your baking dish is too big for the fish, is to add baby carrots in with the fish – the cooking time should be the same.