Monkfish in a spicy tomato sauce

…or “Lotte à l’américaine” as we call it in France, is one of my favourite dishes! One of those who make you LOVE fish.

It’s a traditional fish stew that my mother usually prepares for family meals.


Just as random information: while shopping, don’t be put off by monkfish’s ugly looks! It’s got a firm and meaty texture and a great, fine, taste.

You’ll need:
1kg monkfish tail
2 shallots
2 onions
200g fresh tomatoes (canned tomato pulp does the job during cold months)
2 tbsp tomato paste (double concentrated)
10 cl Olive oil
10g Butter
20 cl white wine
1 tsp red chili powder (cayenne pepper recommended)
A handful fresh parsley
Salt, pepper
3 tbsp flour


  1. Remove the skin, the fins and the (unique) central bone from the monkfish tail and cut it into 8 bits. Learn more about monkfish preparation here: BBC Food | Monkfish
  2. Quickly dip your fish pieces into flour and remove excess flour. You want to cover all the sides with a very thin layer of flour.
  3. In a big casserole dish, heat some olive oil and a tiny bit of butter (French food guys!) and fry the fish for 3 minutes. At this stage, you just want to sear the fish on every side.
  4. Once nicely coloured, « reserve » the fish: transfer the fish pieces from the cooker to a plate, but make sure you keep all the oil/butter/fish-juice goodness right in your cooker. It might look rather gooey, but all your flavours lie right there.
  5. In the same cooker, gently fry the chopped shallots and onions, then add the tomato purée and leave to simmer for 5 minutes.
  6. In a bowl, mix the white wine with the concentrated tomato paste, salt, pepper and red chilli and add to the cooker. Leave to simmer for 20 minutes, over a gentle heat.
  7. Add the fish pieces back into your cooker, leave to simmer for another 20 minutes and, finally, add the chopped parsley. You can add more spices according to taste.

Serve with rice and… white wine!

If you dare: at stage 1, add 2 tbsp Pineau des Charentes (or 1 tbsp Cognac) and « flambé » it. (Seriously, don’t you have a word for that?)




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