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Bamboo-steamed Monkfish Osso-Bucco Style - Serves 8

Bamboo-steamed Monkfish Osso-Bucco Style

Alternatively, leave the fish whole but cut it into 4 and wrap each piece in Parma ham. Steam it for 6 minutes, then pan-fry and serve in the same way. You could also use thinly sliced smoked pork belly instead of Parma ham. Make sure you use a bamboo steamer.

Jean-Christophe Novelli A tip from

Make sure the monkfish pieces are not too large otherwise you will lose tenderness in the fish. And, whatever you do, use top quality ingredients and be sure to remove the thick skin. You will need a steamer and a large freezer or sandwich bag for this recipe.


1. Lay the monkfish on a flat surface and make a small hole through the middle of each piece.

2.Wrap a basil leaf tightly around each carrot and push through the hole. Repeat with the remaining fish pieces. Put the fish into the freezer or sandwich bag.

3. In a bowl, combine the olive oil, bay leaf, thyme, garlic, lemon juice, fennel seeds and star anise. Pour into the bag and shake gently to coat the fish. Squeeze out the air, seal the bag and refrigerate for 24 hours.

4. Make the sauce. Heat a saucepan, add the olive oil and shallots, and cook for 1 minute. Add the bay leaf, thyme, red wine, peppercorns and sugar or honey. Stir until the sugar is dissolved.

5. Reduce the wine until a light syrup is achieved. Stir in the cream and bring to the boil. Sieve this into another saucepan.

6. Remove from the heat. Whisk in the butter and then add the garlic. Set aside to cool until required.

7. Heat a steamer. When the water is boiling, remove the fish from the bag with a slotted spoon (but do not discard the bag). Season and place carefully into the hot steamer. Steam for 4–6 minutes.

8. Meanwhile, place the spinach in the freezer bag, add seasoning to taste and shake gently to coat the leaves with the marinade.

9. When the fish is cooked, remove from the steamer and set aside in a warm place to rest.Keep the steamer on the boil.

10. In a separate saucepan, heat the sauce, but do not allow it to boil.

11.Remove the spinach from the bag and place it in the steamer. Steam for 1 minute.

12. To serve, pour a little sauce on to each serving plate. Add a portion of spinach topped by two pieces of fish. To finish, drizzle with a little olive oil and garnish with the chervil.

This recipe is taken from Jean-Christophe's 'Everyday Novelli' book.


  • 8 x 80g monkfish fillets, tail pieces
  • 8 fresh basil leaves
  • 8 baby carrots, blanched, peeled and trimmed into 6cm pieces, retaining the thicker end
  • 50ml olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 6 sprigs fresh thyme, stalks removed
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled and finely chopped
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • sprinkle of fennel seeds
  • 1 star anise
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 800g baby spinach
  • 4 sprigs fresh chervil
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper


  • 10ml olive oil
  • 2 banana shallots, peeled and sliced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3 sprigs fresh thyme, stalks removed
  • 750ml red wine (e.g. Barolo or Merlot)
  • 2 black peppercorns
  • 50g caster sugar or 50ml runny honey
  • 50ml double cream
  • 80–100g unsalted butter, diced
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled, halved and core removed

Preparation time: 30 minutes, with 24 hours chilling time

Cooking time: 25 minutes