For the initial base stock
½ a large monk fish head
1 clove of garlic
½ a glass of dry white wine
1 litre of water
10 pepper corns
sprigs of thyme
For the sauce
extra virgin olive oil
1 garlic clove
300 – 400g pachino tomatoes
the flesh of the fish head
250g cooked chick peas
finely chopped parsley
Monkfish 'as tripe'
The cheeks of the monkfish are what you’re going to eat but the flavour and the gelatinous quality, which give the finished sauce its ‘tripe like’ feel, come from whole head. It’s a dish that needs a certain amount of bravado.
The head will take an hour to cook then it will need time to cool before you can pick the fish from the bones. The sauce will take another 40 minutes and you’ll need a very big pan with a tight-fitting lid.
Though most of the flesh comes from the cheeks there are hidden pockets to be found all over the head. You can see in the photo that I added some small sea snails last time I made it.
Put a little oil into the biggest high sided pan you have. Add a clove of garlic and a chilli and cook until the garlic is golden. Add the wine before the garlic burns. Bring to the boil then add the fish head, the thyme, the parsley stalks and a litre of water before once again bringing back to the boil. Cover with a lid and let the fish cook and steam in its juices. Cook for about forty minutes or until you see the flesh start to come away from the bones. Leave the lid on and take the pan off the heat.
Whilst the contents are cooling, prep the tomatoes and cut them into halves.
Pick the meat from the monkfish head. Discard the carcass and pass the liquid through a sieve before setting it aside for the sauce.
In a fairly large casserole start again with some extra virgin olive oil, another clove of garlic and a chilli and cook until the garlic is golden. This time add the tomatoes and stir into the oil. Add the chick peas and cook for several minutes. Season lightly, before adding half of the fish stock. Bring back to the boil and simmer for another twenty minutes.
Pick through the meat from the head and tear it apart into smallish pieces. Add this to the pan and cook for another ten to fifteen minutes. Leave to cool for a few minutes before serving.