Braised Monkfish in Parma Ham with Lentils

Serves 4

  • 1kg monkfish tail, filleted and skinned
  • 1 tbsp freshly chopped marjoram
  • 1 small lemon, peel and pith removed, thinly sliced
  • 4–6 thin slices Parma ham
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 small onion, finely diced
  • 1 carrot, finely diced
  • 1 celery stick, finely diced
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 350g Puy lentils
  • 150ml red wine
  • 2 tbsp freshly chopped coriander
  • salt and ground black pepper
  1. Lay the fish, cut side up, on a board and sprinkle with the marjoram. Season with salt and pepper. Lay the lemon slices over one fillet, then sandwich together with the other monkfish fillet.
  2. Wrap the fish in the Parma ham, making sure it is completely covered. Tie at 5cm (2in) intervals with fine cotton string. Cover and leave in a cool place for 1–2 hours to allow the flavours to develop.
  3. Heat 2 tbsp oil in a medium pan, then add the onion, carrot, celery and garlic. Cook, stirring, for about 8 minutes or until golden. Stir in the lentils and wine. Add sufficient water to cover, bring to the boil and cook for 10 minutes.
  4. Heat the remaining oil in a large frying pan. Add the monkfish parcel and fry, turning, until the Parma ham is browned all over. Carefully take out the fish parcel and transfer the lentils to the frying pan. Put the fish on top, partially burying it in the lentils. Cover and cook on a medium-low heat for 20 minutes or until the juices from the fish run clear when tested with a knife.
  5. Remove the string and cut the fish into thick slices. Serve on a bed of lentils, sprinkled with the coriander


Recipes and photographs are from the Good Housekeeping Cookery Book: The Cook’s Classic Companion with Photographs by Gareth Morgans, Lucinda Symons, Philip Webb and Myles New. Published in hardback by Pavilion and available from all good booksellers, RRP £30.