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Advent Recipe Day Nine: Monkfish with Saffron-Infused Salt

Monkfish with Saffron Salt

It’s very easy to identify a monkfish at first glance due to its great size and characteristic cone-shaped head, which tapers off into a long tail. An indispensable fixture in professional kitchens in Northern Spain, the monkfish is often seen as the main ingredient in stew pots in different regions across the country.

In this recipe from Le Cordon Bleu Madrid, a simple pan-searing does wonders for a monkfish fillet, and its firm and tasty flesh lends itself well to an infinite number of cooking methods and preparations. If served in a cream, monkfish becomes very potent in flavour; particularly when a saffron-infused fleur de sel seasoning is added to the mix.

Serves 4
Total time:


Main ingredients
  • 320 g monkfish fillet, trimmed & skinless
Butternut squash and carrot cream
  • 300 g butternut squash, in cubes
  • 100 g carrots, diced
  • 50 g onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 15 g tomato paste
  • 1 pinch of saffron
  • 20 g honey
  • 500 ml white chicken stock
Roasted tomatoes
  • 3 tomatoes, Pear variety
  • 1 garlic clove, thinly sliced
  • 6 thyme sprigs, destemmed
Charred spring onion
  • 1 spring onion
Fried parsley
  • 2 parsley sprigs
Saffron-infused salt
  • The Advent Calendar spice mix may be used or prepared at home with the following:
  • 8 g fleur de sel
  • 1 g saffron threads
  • fine salt
  • sugar
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • Cayenne pepper
  • Espelette pepper
  • sweet smoked La Vera paprika
  • butter
  • mild olive oil
  • extra virgin olive oil


Roasted tomatoes

Scald the tomatoes in order to peel and cut them into 4 wedges (lengthwise) and then seed.

Season with salt, black pepper and a pinch of sugar.

Roast/dry in the oven at 100°C for 90 minutes.

Roll up the petal-shaped wedges width-wise. Reserve in mild olive oil.

Butternut squash and carrot cream

Sauté the butternut squash, carrots, onion and garlic in extra virgin olive oil.

Add the tomato paste, saffron and honey.

Season with salt, Cayenne pepper, Espelette pepper and sweet smoked La Vera paprika.

Moisten with the chicken stock, cover and cook at a simmer until the vegetables are tender.

Blend, adjust seasoning and set aside.

Charred spring onion

Cut off the stalk and cut the spring onion lengthwise to obtain 4 wedges.

Char the wedges on both cut sides using a sauté pan. Use a pre-cut square of aluminium foil to place the wedges on and to char on the sauté pan.

Once ready, separate each spring onion scale to obtain petal-shaped pieces and set aside for later use.

Fried parsley

Cover a ceramic plate with film wrap.

Destem the sprigs, brush mild olive oil on the parsley leaves and place them on the tightly filmed-wrapped plate.

Cover the leaves with another layer of tightly wrapped film wrap so that the leaves stay flat.

Heat in the microwave at maximum heat for one minute.

Remove the last layer of film wrap and repeat the same process for another 30 seconds.

Reserve the fried leaves on a paper towel.

Saffron-infused salt

Crush the fleur de sel and saffron threads together until obtaining a yellow-coloured salt or use the Advent Calendar spice mix.

Set aside.


Season the monkfish fillet with salt and black pepper.

Cook in the sauté pan with butter until it is golden and juicy.

Allow to rest for 1 minute before cutting the monkfish into thin medallions.

Reheat the butternut squash and carrot cream, the roasted tomatoes and the charred spring onion petals.


Place 3 monkfish medallions in the centre of a deep dish.

Place a tomato petal roll beside each medallion.

Place a charred spring onion petal on top of each tomato petal roll.

Place a fried parsley leaf on top of each tomato roll.

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