the appetizer:

New Classic Family Dinners: More Than 200 Everyday Recipes and Menus From the Award-winning Campanile Restaurant by Mark Peel with Martha Rose Shulman, includes recipes like Roasted Tomato Soup; Rabbit Cacciatore; and Monkfish Osso Buco with Risotto Milanese and Gremolata.

Cookbook Profile

Monkfish Osso Buco
with Risotto Milanese and Gremolata

Makes 4 servings

Monkfish Osso Buco


One day I was looking at a large monkfish and it occurred to me that monkfish tail looks something like a veal shank. I wondered if I could use monkfish for osso buco, the classic Italian braised veal shank seasoned with gremolata and served with risotto Milanese. I tried it out, and it worked. When you order the fish, specify to the fishmonger that you want the bone in. Do not get the monkfish slices from the narrow end of the tail. Make sure they're at least 2-1/2 inches in diameter.


1. Place the chicken stock in a saucepan and bring to a simmer. Season well with salt.

2. Season the fish generously with salt and pepper. Heat a wide saucepan over medium-high heat and add the canola oil. When it is hot—you can feel the heat when you hold your hand above it—add the monkfish pieces, cut side down. Work in batches so you don't crowd the pan. Sear for 2 to 3 minutes on each side, until lightly colored, and transfer to a platter or a baking sheet.

3. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Turn the burner heat to medium and add the olive oil to the pan. Add the rice and stir constantly over the heat, until the rice begins to smell toasty, like popcorn, and the kernels are opaque. Crush the saffron threads between your fingers and stir into the rice, along with 1 teaspoon salt. Add the onions or shallots and garlic and continue to stir for 1 to 2 minutes, scraping the bottom of the pan to deglaze. Add the tomatoes and continue to stir and scrape the pan for about 3 minutes. Reduce the burner heat to medium-low. Add the wine and stir until it has been absorbed by the rice.

4. Begin ladling in the simmering stock. It should just cover the rice and should immediately begin to bubble, though not too hard. If it is boiling hard, turn down the heat a bit more. Stir until just about absorbed, and add another ladleful. Stir often and continue to add stock whenever you see that there is not much left in the saucepan. Gradually the mixture will become creamy.

5. After about 25 minutes, the rice should be cooked al dente and the mixture should be creamy. Al dente means "toothy" in Italian, so it should be just firm to the tooth in the center of the grain. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Continue to add stock and cook if necessary. It should not take more than 30 minutes. Be careful not to let the rice stick to the bottom of the pan.

6. When the rice is al dente and the mixture creamy, cover the rice one more time with stock. Making sure that you can see the stock bubbling, place the monkfish fillets on top of the rice and tip in any liquid that has gathered on the platter. Cover and place in the preheated oven for 10 minutes.

7. Meanwhile, make the gremolata. Combine all of the ingredients on a cutting board and mince together. Set aside in a small bowl.

8. After 10 minutes, remove the fish and rice from the oven. The fish should be opaque and firm all the way through. If it is not, return to the oven for another 5 minutes. Take the fish off the rice. If the rice is not creamy, stir in another ladle or two of stock. Stir in the butter. Spoon the rice onto a platter. Top with the fish. Sprinkle on the gremolata, and serve.


Add 1 cup cooked peas or cooked pearl onions (or 1/2 cup each) to the rice when you stir in the final ladleful of stock.


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This page created January 2010