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Pan-Fried Monkfish with Fennel and Gruyere

Provided by Mel & Sheryl London

Fennel and fish – a marriage made in France – and in Heaven. Prepare the fennel in advance and finish just before serving.

Pan-Fried Monkfish with Fennel and Gruyere


  • 2 medium fennel bulbs, trimmed with fronds reserved, about 1 ¾ pounds total
  • 1tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 large shallots, peeled and coarsely chopped (about 3 tablespoons)
  • 3 tablespoons pancetta, diced
  • 2/3 cup chicken broth
  • Large wedge lemon
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 4 tablespoons grated Gruyere cheese
  • 1 tablespoon butter, cut into small pieces
  • 1 ½ pounds monkfish, cut into medium medallions about 1 ¼ inch thick
  • Rice flour for dredging
  • Canola oil for sautéing


Cut each fennel bulb in half through the core then cut lengthwise into ¼ inch thick slices. In a 12 inch iron skillet over medium-high heat, add the olive oil. When hot, add the slices of fennel. Sauté for three minutes without disturbing. Then turn the slices over and scatter the shallots and pancetta between the fennel slices. Add the chicken broth and squeeze lemon juice and salt and pepper over all. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat to simmer and cover the skillet. Simmer for about 12 minutes, until tender. Transfer to a large shallow flameproof baking dish, sprinkle the fennel with Gruyere cheese, dot with butter and set aside (you can prepare this part of the recipe in advance).

When ready to cook the fish, wipe out the skillet. Preheat the broiler so that you can slip the fennel and cheese into it in order to rewarm before completing the dish and serving.

In the skillet, on medium high heat, add about 2 tablespoons of the canola oil. Add the monkfish slices to a plastic bag with rice flour, salt and pepper. Shake the bag to dredge the slices, then remove the excess flour with tongs and add the fish to the skillet. Saute about 3 minutes each side, until golden. Test with the point of a knife. Transfer the pieces of fish over the fennel mixture and sprinkle with about 1-2 tablespoons of fennel fronds.

Serves 4


MEL & SHERYL LONDON are the authors of eleven cookbooks, including “A Seafood Celebration” and “The Fish Lovers” Cookbook.” They are winners of the James Beard Award and the Tastemaker Award and were finalists for the IACP Cookbook Award for “The Gourmet Garage Cookbook.” They have been loyal and loving customers of The Lobster Place since the company first opened its doors in Chelsea Market.