Monkfish Wrapped in Bacon

Image of Co Cork beach

Sitting under grey skies in rain-sodden Suffolk I’m wishing I was back in west Cork … but it’s probably pouring there as well. Ah well, I have something special to remind me of the Irish seaside … a lovely piece of monkfish.

No, I didn’t bring it back with me, it’d be ponging to high heaven by now. I bought some at Skibbereen market when I was in Ireland and reprised the recipe back home, as I wasn’t entirely happy with my original timings.

I did bring back some very thinly sliced smoked, dry-cure bacon from Ummera Smokehouse to wrap it, but if you really want to push the boat out (monkfish is expensive in itself) you can use Parma ham. Pancetta would work too. I tied my parcel as it was looking a bit baggy, but it’s not necessary if you can get a good, tight wrap.

Around 300g of monkfish (one generous fillet) will serve two people; 400-500g (one tail, cut into two fillets either side of the bone) will serve 4.

Monkfish Wrapped in Bacon

Image of monkfish wrapped in bacon


1 monkfish tail, about 400-500g, cut into two fillets

Small bunch of parsley, leaves picked

Zest of 1 lemon

Salt and pepper

10-12 rashers of thinly sliced, dry cure smoked bacon

Oil, for frying

For the garnish/side:

Small splash of oil

2 small courgettes, diced

1 clove of garlic, finely chopped

5 or 6 firm medium tomatoes, skinned, de-seeded and diced

About 6-8 basil leaves


Make sure all the membrane is removed from the monkfish, then lay the two fillets together, thin end to thick end, so they.’re roughly the same thickness all the way along. (If you only have one fillet, tuck the thin end underneath, so it doesn’t overcook.) Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Chop the parsley finely and mix in the lemon zest. Place in a thick line on a board and roll the monkfish in the mixture to coat both sides.

Image of fish coated with parsley and lemon zestRemove any rind from the bacon and lay out the rashers, overlapping slightly, in a rectangle big enough to enclose the fish. Put the fish near the bottom edge and roll up tightly.

Secure with cocktail sticks or string if yours, like mine, is a bit scruffy and the bacon isn’t staying put. Cover and allow to sit for half an hour, refrigerating it if you’re not cooking it straight away. Let it come back to room temperature before you start to cook, about 20 minutes in a warm kitchen.

Image of monkfish wrapped and tiedPre-heat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas Mark 6. Heat a few tablespoons of oil in an oven-proof pan and sear the monkfish for 3-4 minutes, turning, until golden.

Place in the oven, untidy side underneath, and roast for 10-12 minutes, until cooked through but still juicy. If you’re not sure it’s done, a skewer inserted into the centre of the fish should come out warm.

Image of sliced monkfishRemove from the oven and rest for 5 minutes while you heat a splash of oil in a pan. Add the courgettes and garlic and fry briefly until tinged with gold and just barely cooked (don’t burn the garlic), then tip in the diced tomatoes and toss until warmed through. Shred the basil leaves, stir them in off the heat, and season lightly with salt and pepper.

Using a sharp knife, slice the fish into thick medallions. Served on warmed plates, spooning around some of the courgette and tomato concasse.  

Irish Times

Image of view from kitchen sink

This has been my kitchen sink for the past 10 days. The view actually belongs to an old friend, Andy, a man with a sense of humour I have always treasured. When I once got the push from a job, he gave me a clock as a leaving present. Inscribed on the back was ‘tempus fuckit’.  Continue reading

Chicken with Summer Vegetables

This is the lightest, most summery dish and very adaptable to what you have on hand. Please don’t skip the cider, mustard and tarragon though … they are what brings the other ingredients to life and makes your guests reach for hunks of bread to dunk in the delectable sauce.

What vegetables you use depend on what you have handy … as it’s a one-pot dish and the garden is bursting with all sorts of good things, I used broad beans, peas, carrots, baby new potatoes and (the second time around, not shown in the picture below) French beans.  Continue reading

Lobster Salad and the Kitchen Sink

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Mike hauls in lobster pots aboard the Avocet

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Mrs Portly’s Cookery Classes

Hello everyone.

As regular readers will know, I’m planning cookery courses based at Mrs Portly’s Kitchen here in Suffolk. They will be friendly, relaxed and hands-on, with a maximum of four people per group so you’ll get plenty of personal attention.

There will be, I hope, something for everyone. The two day courses would incorporate visits to artisanal producers, with the option to stay at our beautiful and historic (if sometimes slightly ramshackle) Tudor house with its lovely two and a half acre garden.

I’d be really grateful if you could take the time to complete this short Facebook survey so that I can gauge the extent of interest. (Just click on the first bit – FB’s code is a bit baffling.)

Thank you so much!

Best wishes,

Linda (aka Mrs P).

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