I’ve been seeing those large monkfish livers at the Union Square Greenmarket for quite a while, but I hadn’t had the chance to fit them into my dinner plans — until recently.
Monkfish is found along all the European coasts, from the Barents Sea to the Black Sea. Its rich liver can be prepared pretty much like foie gras, but has a softer texture. It is particularly praised in Japan (as other species from the same family are found all over the world), where Ankino — a steamed liver served with daikon, green onion, and ponzu sauce — is considered a delicacy.
I am using an adapted version of Thomas Keller’s recipe from Under Pressure: Cooking Sous Vide. The liver’s mild taste is a great match with trout roe, and the spring onion and garlic jam brings a note of sweetness that extends the analogy with foie gras (which is often served with sweet preparations) while keeping the “Eastern European” part of the Japanese dish (the onion). All you have to do is combine the three elements on blini or oladi.
Monkfish liver medallions
Yields about 3 servings
0.4 oz sugar
0.1 oz curing salt
2.2 oz coarse salt
1 qt water
1 monkfish liver (about 14 oz)
0.1 oz powdered gelatin
- Process the sugar, curing salt, and coarse salt with the water in a blender until fully dissolved, then transfer to a bowl. Cut out the large vein that runs through the liver, as well as any discolored areas (but don’t overdo it; the liver should remain in one piece). Transfer to the bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 4 hours.
- Take the liver out of the brine, rinse under cold water, and pat dry with paper towels. Season with salt and piment d’espelette on both sides, then place on a piece of plastic film smooth side down, and sprinkle the gelatin by sifting it though a strainer. Fold the liver in half crosswise, and cut a slash into the fold. Shape into a log, and roll into the plastic film. Tightly wrap with 2 or 3 more pieces of plastic film, then seal into a sous-vide pouch. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
- Cook in a 147 F water bath for 3 hours and 15 minutes (I must confess I stuck to what Mr Keller’s recipe said for the cooking time… although that last 15 minute stretch seems slightly incongruous when you consider that the exact size and thickness of your liver log may vary). Transfer to an ice bath, and refrigerate in the ice water.
- Slice the liver into medallions, and serve with trout roe (or store-bought salmon roe), spring onion and garlic jam, and your favorite blini.