I guess there are a fair number of adages that you could use here: nothing new under the sun; you can teach an old dog new tricks; don't be stupid, etc, etc, etc. Whatever you want to use, go right ahead. Recently, Annalena learned something new about cooking fish, and given the ultimate purity and goodness of her heart (that IS really true), she decided to share it with you.
Many people don't cook fish, because they're afraid of it. That's not without reason. In a culture that values meat as much as ours does, the fact that fish cooks differently than meat - very differently - is a factor to be reckoned with. As is its cost. No one wants to buy, for example, tuna, at 18 dollars a pound, and ruin it. (meat usually doesn't cost that much, and the cuts that do are somewhat more resilient to bad cooking than others. Beyond that, most people who buy cuts that dear, do know how to cook them. Not all though. Annalena has suffered through her share of bad beef tenderloin).
Ok, mini rant over. If you like fish, LEARN to cook it. People cook it all the time. Learn to cook the varieties you like, because it ain't no sin to not like them all. Look through the 500 plus entries in this blog: you will not find a single salmon recipe. There's a reason for that. Or mackerel, or blue fish, and several others. Nope, not up my alley.
Anyway, here's the deal. Just about every recipe for fish goes for either the long, slow cooking route (I do have a recipe for salmon that bakes it, at 275 for an hour), or the fast and very hot (I have a recipe for tuna steaks where you heat a grill for ten minutes, and cook the steaks for a minute on a side). NEVER do you see long cooking, at high temperatures.
Now, of course, "long" and "high" are relative terms, like so many other terms are. The recipe I am going to give you uses a temperature of 450, which is pretty high, and cooks the fish for half an hour, which in my book, is pretty long for cooking a fish fillet. But it works. In fact, it works better than just about every recipe I have for monkfish.
When you confront monkfish, one of the first things you encounter is its texture. This stuff is dense, more like a steak than a white fish. What you're getting is the tail of a big old ugly fish (google monkfish. Look at the face. I think that even mothers would have trouble with that one). The head is inedible, but the tail is meaty and good. But that texture means that it is very easy to cook the fish wrong, and get something rather rubbery, sort of the way squid comes out if you cook it any way other than... fast and high, or slow and long (ask me for my recipe for squid stuffed with shrimp if you like. Long and slow). Cooking the monkfish this way turned it very flaky and downright terrific.
Ok, let's stop chatting and start cooking. Get some monkfish fillets, and it really doesn't matter how much you get. I've done this with a solid, 1.5 pound piece, and four 8 ounce fillets. You will need a non stick pan that can hold all of your fish in one layer. Also - and don't worry - you won't use much - a cup or so of flour that you mix in a plastic bag with two teaspoons of salt, and something to flavor the fish. I learned this with fresh herbs, but then tried it with curry. The curry works better. So, use some curry. Use a LOT of curry (we don't use enough of it in our cooking). Put a heaping tablespoon of your favorite kind into that seasoned flour, and shake it to mix. Then add the monkfish and shake it around to coat it. You can dispense with the extra flour by putting everything into a strainer and shaking to get the excess flour out. If you're the obsessive type, measure what's left. Nearly a cup.
While you're doing this, preheat your oven, to 450, and get a non stick pan with three tablespoons of olive oil in it, wicked hot. WICKED hot. It would probably be a good idea to start heating the oil about five minutes before you start prepping the fish. When the oil is hot, put it gently into the pan, and sear for about a minute. Turn the fish over (use tongs), as if you were cooking meat, until you've seared all sides of it. When you have done that, add six cloves of unpeeled garlic to the pan. OFF the heat, add a cup of white wine (my choice), or chicken or fish stock (if you are being noble). Then put the whole pan into the oven. Set a timer for fifteen minutes, and then turn the fish over for another fifteen minutes, if your pieces are very big, or another ten, if they are on the small side.
Protect your hand, and take the pan out of the oven. The fish will be seared wonderfully, and the liquid will have reduced to a sauce that has been enriched by some of the fish juices. Portion it out, and pour the sauce over each piece. You don't have to share the garlic if you don't want to, but it's a nice touch, especially if you put bread out with the fish, since folks can squeeze garlic onto it and eat it as if they were eating chicken with forty cloves of garlic.
You can do this. Go back through the recipe. Perhaps the hardest thing on the list was putting the fish in the bag.
Long and high. There's probably some kind of sexual innuendo there, but remember Annalena's pure heart. She wouldn't know.