Mokkfish in pea soup (12 of 14)It’s your own fault. I didn’t write it. You didn’t see it, because it isn’t there. Yet planted in your mind is the inappropriate image. The awful picture of something that I didn’t compose and certainly didn’t intend. No. this is a food blog. I try to elevate your standards, not drag them into the gutter.

Perhaps if I were to call it Parma Wrapped Monkfish Sous Vide in a Blended Pea and Mint Potage, you might have a different mental image. You may say to yourself “Mmmm, that sounds delicious.” Good. Because, delicious it was! What surprised me was the ease with which I made the dish.

The ingredients list is short enough.

Simple, short ingredients list. I took the shot. Taken short, as it were.

Simple, short ingredients list. I took the shot. Taken short, as it were.

  • 1 large or 2 small onions
  • 1 kilo of frozen peas
  • 1 litre of good chicken stock
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 handful of mint leaves
  • 1 handful of parsley
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 monkfish tail (about 750 grammes)
  • 8 to 10 very thin slices of parma ham

The process is simplicity itself too. For the soup, pour the stock into a saucepan and add the peas.

Mid air peas. I enjoyed taking this shot.

I enjoyed taking this shot. A good stream of pea.

Bring this to a simmer. Meanwhile, chop the onion and garlic. Fry these in a little butter or olive oil, until the onions are translucent.

Nearly there, they tend to be an off-yellow colour when they are done.

Nearly there, they tend to be an off-yellow colour when they are done.

Stir the onion and garlic into the pea mixture.

The peas have a really high green colour when they are just cooked.

The peas have a really high green colour when they are just cooked.

Place the lot in a blender and give it a whirl.

Just before blending. The mixture becomes beautifully thick once you hit the loud button.

The mixture becomes beautifully thick once you hit the loud button.

Once this is done, you have only to adjust the seasoning of the soup. Now you can concentrate on the monkfish.

Side note on getting the right thickness of parma ham. In a very friendly way, I asked the young chap at the deli counter “Just how thin can you slice that parma ham?” He responded with enthusiasm and skill. He gave me ten translucent slices. I praised him as he went. The end result was like in the picture.

If you want subtle flavours, you just have to be subtle in your approach.

If you want subtle flavours, you just have to be subtle in your approach.

Lay out enough cling film to comfortably wrap the monkfish. Lay out the parma ham on top.

This is the tricky bit. Wrap the film and let the ham take care of itself.

This is the tricky bit. Wrap the film and let the ham take care of itself.

Sit the monkfish on top of this and roll it into a nice big meat cigar (Goodness, that sounds vaguely vulgar).

Wrap it tight. This will help hold the shape.

Wrap it tight. This will help hold the shape.

Put this in the freezer for about a half hour. This prevents the vacuum sealer flattening the monkfish and making it look like the bottom feeder that it is (You could find this rude too, if you had a mind to.). Vacuum seal it and pop it into a water bath at 48º for 15 minutes.

It held it's shape nicely. The freezer bit is important.

It held its shape nicely. The freezer bit is important.

Remove it from the bag and brown it in butter on a medium pan. This doesn’t take long.

I had to cut it in two to get it to fit on the pan.

I had to cut it in two to get it to fit on the pan. And, yes, I know what it looks like.

Warm the pea soup. Place it in a bowl. Gently slice the monkfish and place it in the centre, using a bit of mint leaf for decoration. Serve and enjoy.

Enjoy this delicious dish. It will have you in rude health.

Enjoy this delicious dish. It will have you in rude health.

This looks great plated and tastes fantastic. It has the benefit of being a decent number of your ‘five-a-day’ too. That will help keep you in rude health. Yes, rude….

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Latest comments
  • ‘A pool of Pea’………..Jury’s out on that title, but the dish looks incredible C-baps.

    • Thanks Rory,
      The thought popped into my head. I had to do it!

  • A fine wee dish. Congratulations (not least for sustaining the joke throughout). Lx

    • And a wee congratulation to you for dribbling it down into the comments!

  • I thought for one ghastly moment you had ventured into the murky depth of South Australian cuisine, and were showing us a Pie Floater (yes, also open to alternative interpretation… ). For a visual explanation of my temporary confusion, go here: http://culturaldictionary.org/pie%20floater.html
    Yours sounds delicious!

    • The pie floater is a popular dish in the north of England. A frightening prospect.

  • I did a very similar dish to this, without the sous vide, when we were running the residential food photography courses…..love the idea of serving it with the pea soup…

    • Thanks Roger. One of these days, I’ll be suckered into asking about the courses and we both know where that will lead…

  • I love the cyclicality of this dish, Conor. Ugly fish goes the full Cinderella. Pretty peas go somewhat the other way. I’d happily inhale both of them, but then again, I’d never be so shallow as to judge on looks alone (can’t afford to, but that’s another story)

    • “Never judge the book by the cover” goes the old saying. I am glad of it, for sure.

  • ah, once again truth prevails: every man retains a bit of 12-year-old at the depths of their being.

    humorous potty/body innuendo aside or not, three cheers for another beautiful veggie. i still dream of the day mankind will achieve whirled peas…

    • I just love getting your comments. It is proof to me of real engagement. I am delighted to be able to impress a Veggie while doing this stuff.
      12 is an exaggeration by the way. Never older than 10.

  • Looks stunning! And Bravo for possibly a record number of puns in one post 🙂

    • I haven’t counted, but pretty sure this is not a record for Conor 😉

      • You’re right, I’m underestimating him 🙂

      • I haven’t either Stefan. Fun to write and really delicious to cook.

    • It’s true Donna, they flowed!

  • Great post and great recipe, Conor. I bet the sweetness of the peas worked very well with the saltiness of the parma. Important to have it sliced thin, so it doesn’t overpower the fish. Which of course was very tender and juicy thanks to SV 🙂 Like the trick with the cling film, too. The hard part is handling those stick-together thin slices of parma.

    • The SV monk was a revelation. I don’t want to bang on about it but, it was fantastic.

  • Hilarious as usual, Conor! Realophile got to the whirled peas pun first, so I’ll just have to settle on imagining me washing your mouth out with soap. 😀 Beautiful fish and peas, though. I love the translucent parma ham hand shot.

    • Thanks Kathryn, I actually didn’t say anything rude. You managed that bit all on your own (perhaps a little guidance from me). I was delighted with that shot, particularly as he really went out of his way to cut it thin for me.

  • Love the title! And a beautiful dish.

    • Thanks Virginia. It was fun to write.

  • Conor! The title is . . . genius! Very clever play on words. Fun read and simple enough recipe. And it’s such a coincidence that I had pea soup for lunch today 🙂

    • Thanks Dionne,
      The soup was surprisingly (for me) excellent.
      Best,
      Conir

  • Love the flying peas!

    • I’m learning from Richard McGary and Ken Rivard. A long way to go if I’m to catch up with either.

  • Love it! Ballottine of monkfish is killer and the stream of pea shot is great! Now, have you figured out how to extract your tongue from your cheek yet? 😉

    • Thanks Richard. It’s the only place for it when writing this stuff.

  • Way back I remember waiting in line at Anaheim Disneyland for a ride ‘It’s a small world after all’ . . . is it not that, wonder of wonders!! Elizabeth Posmyk, from Canberra Australia, posted a wonderful post on ‘pease porridge’ etc this morning under her ‘Good Things’ address . . . methinks it so fits in with the gorgeous post of yours I have just read . . . .

    • Thanks Eha. I need to check it out. But, in small world terms, I’m in New Jersey right now. Dublin tomorrow and Paris in Friday. Hardly any time to say thanks for the thoughtful (as ever) comment.
      Best,
      C

      • That is TOO fast to enjoy! Just hoping you survive and all goes well.

  • Hahahaaaa! Oh gosh Conor. As soon as this popped up in my email inbox, I knew I had a cracker to read! The dish itself is rather beautiful. The association with something very unglamorous makes me like it even more, however that’s probably a poor reflection of my own gutter humour. I think my friend Graz (from Foodisthebestshitever) would love this post. He’s all about pools of pee. P.S. love the technicality of the sous vide and that gorgeously opaque monkfish in the cross section. I bet this would have been incredibly delicious!

    • It was pretty delish Laura. Poor Graz is running around like a mad thing now that he is restauranting for himself. Great to see.
      Best,
      Conor

  • Shame on you! Looks good, though.

  • I have never ever seen monk fish at a regular fish market. I don’t know what it tastes like. I only know that every time I see it in a photo I want to have it. And in your post it looks fantastic! Perfectly cooked and a perfectly composed dish. Thanks Conor!

  • Delicious! I could manage a few plates of that 😉

  • Beautiful presentation!! Your dish sounds absolutely delicious as well. Lovely!

    • Thanks Josette,
      I appreciate your lovely kind comments.
      Thanks too for stopping by.
      Best,
      Conor

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