Here’s a dish to splurge out on this payday weekend – garlic, lime and basil pan fried tiger prawns and monkfish! I created this dish for a 65th birthday lunch I catered for last month.
It is a little extravagant as tiger prawns are quite expensive (around £2.60 – £2.80 each), as is monkfish, but it worth it once you dive into this oh so juicy and meaty dish. And you’ve earnt it, right? Especially when turning 65!
You may be lucky enough to have your fishmonger remove the heads of the tiger prawns, devein and butterfly them for you, though I quite enjoy doing this myself. I also like to keep the heads to make stock. Just keep put them in the freezer if you are not up for making stock on the same day.
This dish is light and refreshing, whilst giving you a great citrus and garlic punch with every mouth full.
The prep. part – serves 8 people
- 16 tiger prawns – heads removed, deveined and butterflied
- 400g monkfish fillet, cut into cubes
- 4 limes, cut in half for garnish
- 2 bunches of spinach, washed
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 2 tablespoons of olive oil
- Salt and pepper to season
Garlic, lime and basil butter
- 120g unsalted butter
- 2 stalks of basil, use both leaves and stalks
- Zest of 1 lime
- Juice of 2 limes
- 3 large garlic cloves
The cooking/assembling part
- To prep. your garlic, lime and basil butter for this dish, refer to my recipe on herb butters. This can be done days ahead, or even weeks, if you keep a stock of herb butters in the freezer as I do.
- Season the monkfish with salt an hour before cooking and place in the fridge.
- Remove heads, devein and butterfly the tiger prawns and season with salt and pepper and place in the fridge.
- To blanch the spinach, bring a large pan of water to a boil. Prepare a bowl of ice cold water to place the spinach in after you have put it in the hot water.
- Place the spinach in the boiling water for 30 seconds and then, using a slotted spoon, put straight into the bowl of ice cold water to stop it cooking any further.
- After a couple of minutes, remove the spinach from the ice cold water and squeeze out the excess water with your hand. Set aside. You can prepare this ahead of time too and place in the fridge in an airtight container, or in the freezer to use for other dishes.
- After an hour, remove the monkfish from the fridge and pat dry with a paper towel to remove any excess water otherwise you will end up braising or boiling the monkfish in it’s own liquid.
- Put a large frying pan onto heat.
- Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil to the pan when the pan has become quite hot.
- Now add the monkfish to the frying pan, cooking them for a couple of minutes on each side.
- Once cooked on all sides, turn the monkfish into a bowl and cover with cling film. Leave to rest.
- Place the tiger prawns, shell side down, into the same frying pan the monkfish was cooked in and keep on a high heat. Once you see the shells have turned from a grey translucent colour to a gorgeous coral pink turn them over to cook on the other side.
- The tiger prawns should only take 3 – 4 minutes to cook, so at the same time add 1 tablespoon of olive oil to another smaller hot frying pan and add the blanched spinach to this pan.
- Take the tiger prawns off the heat.
- Now pour the lemon juice over the spinach and season with salt and pepper. Turn the spinach on your plates or serving dishes and top with the tiger prawns and monkfish.
- If your butter is not frozen, you can just cut off a few slices of it and it’ll melt when placed onto the monkfish and tiger prawns. Alternatively, drop a few slices into the frying pan that you cooked the monkfish and tiger prawns in when you are plating the dish up and then drizzle over the dish.
- Serve with some wedges of lime.