Fish was never my first choice dish at a restaurant or at home, unless it was dipped in batter and served in paper with big thick chips, mushy peas, a pickled onion and a hunk of bread for a chip butty!
That said, since living here and becoming hooked on fish cataplanas, especially from O Alcaide Restaurant in Alvor or from the third generation-owned restaurant Carvi in Portimão, I have started to try some different fish.
Add to this that my Portuguese work colleagues have taught me to eat sardines the Algarve way – with your fingers, on top of a piece of good bread – and I feel it is time to share a fish recipe for the barbecue.
So here we go with baked/BBQ monkfish (tamboril) with cherry tomatoes, which I tried recently and was a great hit with my wife – so much so she asked if this could be this week’s recipe.
4 monkfish fillets, skin on, boned
5 sprigs of tarragon – use dried if you have to
Two sprigs of rosemary
20+ cherry tomatoes
125cl double cream or crème fraiche
1/2 glass white wine
Half a kilo new potatoes
Fresh green beans
Salt and pepper
This recipe will also work with many types of non-oily fish, such as cod.
To start, get your spuds on the boil. Place the cherry tomatoes into two or more foil parcels (double the foil over so you have a piece approx 30x30cm, place a dozen toms in each, max), place a sprig of rosemary on top and drizzle with olive oil and some balsamic vinegar. Go easy on the vinegar. Season well. Bring the ends of the foil up to make a parcel.
Next, prepare the fish. Again, make a double foil sheet 30cmx30cm. Place the fish skin down in the middle, put two slices of lemon on top, followed by a sprig of tarragon. Season and pour a splash of olive oil and some white wine over. Seal the parcel.
Heat your BBQ. When hot, throw on the foil packets containing the tomatoes. Cook for 5 minutes.
Bring your green beans to the boil.
Move the toms to a cooler part of the BBQ and throw on the fish. It should take about eight minutes to cook.
When the spuds and green beans are cooked, drain. Roughly crush the spuds, add some butter, olive oil and season. Place the lid back on to keep warm. Season the green beans and place the lid back to keep warm.
By this stage the fish should be cooked. Remove the fish and tomato parcels from the BBQ. Allow the fish to rest for 2-3mins.
Get a small saucepan, add 125 cl crème fraiche or double cream and a sprig of chopped tarragon. Now for the real flavour, add all the juices from the fish to the cream, bring to the boil and reduce slightly.
Wilt your spinach/rocket in a large pot with a splash of oil and a squeeze of lemon.
To serve, place the crushed spuds in the middle of the plate, place the fish on top. Spoon a few of the roasted tomatoes on top. Serve the green beans and wilted leafs on the side. Pour the sauce over the fish (be generous). Enjoy!
This recipe has been provided by Chris Winstanley, owner of Moveison, The Algarve’s finest outdoor living store.