Chef Jose Ochoa’s Recipe Monkfish with Saffron, Cream, and Chorizo 

“I always like to have monkfish on the menu,” says the chef at Natalie’s, in Camden. “It deserves way more attention than it gets.”

Monkfish with Saffron, Cream, and Chorizo 
By Alexandra Hall
Photographed and prepared by Derek Bissonnette
From our December 2023 issue

Restraint is what defines many of Jose Ochoa’s most memorable dishes. “The beauty of cooking high-quality seafood,” he says, “is that you barely need to do anything to truly celebrate it. If it’s a fish with excellent flavor, sometimes just a lemon to cut the fattiness is enough.” He takes things a bit further than that in this cold-weather recipe, pairing luscious monkfish with a Spanish-inspired swirl of saffron, cream, and spicy chorizo.

Serves 6

For the monkfish

  • 1½ cups white wine
  • 1½ teaspoons saffron
  • 12 tablespoons butter
  • 3½ tablespoons salt
  • 2¼ pounds monkfish (6 portions of 6 ounces)

For the potatoes

  • 3 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into ½-inch cubes
  • 6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • ½ cup water
  • 3 sprigs thyme
  • 3 sprigs rosemary

For the sauce

  • ¾ cup shallots, diced
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 6 ounces dried chorizo, diced
  • 1½ cups heavy cream
  • ½ cup dry sherry
  • ½ cup sweet sherry

For the crispy chorizo

  • 4 ounces cured and dried chorizo, diced

Directions

Prep: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Fish: Over medium heat, place the wine in a medium pot with the saffron and reduce by half. Add half of the butter and melt. Add salt, then remove from the heat and let come to room temperature. Place the monkfish in a baking dish with the wine mixture and cover. Marinate for 30 minutes.

Potatoes: While the fish is marinating, mix the potatoes, olive oil, and salt on a sheet pan. Sprinkle the water and herbs over the top. Cover with foil and bake for about 25 minutes, until tender.

Sauce: In a medium pot over low heat, add the shallots, butter, and chorizo and cook until fat from the chorizo has rendered. Add the cream and reduce by a quarter. Add both sherries and heat until simmering. Transfer to a blender and blend on high for 1 minute. Pass through a strainer and keep warm on the stove.

Potatoes: When the potatoes are tender, remove foil and return to the oven for 5 minutes, until crispy.

Crispy chorizo: Spread the chorizo on a sheet tray and place in the oven for 5–10 minutes, until crispy. Set aside on a paper towel.

Fish: In a nonstick, oven-safe pan, melt half the remaining butter and sear the fish on one side. Divide the remaining butter and top the filets with it. Place the pan in the oven for about 5 minutes, until the fish has cooked through. Rest for 2 minutes.

Serve: Drizzle about 2 tablespoons of the sauce on a plate or in a shallow bowl, place fish in the center, and garnish with the potatoes and crispy chorizo.

May 2024, Down East Magazine

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