Monkfish is a good choice for stews, because it is very sturdy and won’t fall apart, and it won’t overcook as rapidly as some other types of fish. This dish can be made in advance and brought to temperature when your friends or family arrive at the table. If you’d like to add a vegetable, stir in a cup or so of frozen peas when you add the monkfish back in.
Active Time: 35 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
- 1 1/2 pounds monkfish fillet
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- All-purpose flour, for dredging
- Vegetable oil, for frying
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 large onion, finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1/4 cup red-wine vinegar
- Two 15-ounce cans cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
Remove the translucent outer membrane from the monkfish by lifting and stripping it off with a paring knife (it may have already been removed by your fishmonger). Cut the monkfish into 1 1/2-inch chunks. Season with salt and pepper. Lightly dredge the monkfish in flour.
Heat a large Dutch oven over medium heat. Add about 1/2 inch vegetable oil. When the oil is hot (a piece of fish dipped in it will sizzle on contact), brown the monkfish all over, in batches. Remove to a paper-towel-lined plate as it browns.
Once all of the fish is out of the pot, carefully pour out the vegetable oil and wipe the pot clean. Add the olive oil and return the pot to the heat. When the oil is hot, add the onion. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion begins to soften, 4 to 5 minutes. Make a spot in the center of the pan, and add the tomato paste to it. Cook and stir the tomato paste in that spot until it darkens a shade or two, about 1 minute. Add the red-wine vinegar and 2 cups water. Bring to a rapid simmer, and cook to reduce the liquid slightly and blend the flavors, about 5 minutes. Return the monkfish to the pot, and simmer until just cooked through, about 5 minutes more.
Add the cannellini beans, season with salt and pepper, and stir to combine. Simmer until the broth is slightly thickened, 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in the parsley, and serve.