Archive of BBC Food Recipes

Bake-in-the-bag monkfish with preserved lemon couscous

Prep time less than 30 mins
Cook time less than 30 mins
Serves 6
From Saturday Kitchen Best Bites


  1. Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas 6.

  2. For the monkfish parcels, mix all the monkfish parcel ingredients, except the monkfish, olive oil, saffron and fennel, into a bowl.

  3. Place the monkfish fillet onto a chopping board and cut into 1cm/½in thick, angled slices (the idea is to have around 2-3 nice monk medallions per serving.

  4. Place a small pan with 180ml/6fl oz water onto the stove to boil. Once boiling, add the saffron and immediately remove from the heat.

  5. Cut out six large sheets of kitchen foil and lay them out onto a flat work surface. Fold each sheet in half to create a crease, then open out again.

  6. Pour two tablespoons of the olive oil into the couscous mixture and stir well so that all the grains are well coated in oil.

  7. Add the saffron water and stir again to combine.

  8. Spread a little of the olive oil into the centre of the front half of each of the open foil sheets. Divide the fennel equally among the six sheets, arranging onto the oil.

  9. Divide the couscous mixture outequally, placing on top of each of the piles of fennel.

  10. Top each portion of couscous mixture with 2-3 slices of monkfish.

  11. Drizzle equal amounts of the rest of the extra virgin over each portion of monkfish and season each with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

  12. Bring the top edge of foil of each parcel over the monkfish and couscous pile to meet the bottom edge. Seal the edge by folding it over tightly three times and secure by pressing down firmly with your fingers. Turn each parcel 180 degrees and do the same to the opposite open side.

  13. Each parcel should be well-sealed on three sides, with just the top open. Carefully place each parcel at a 45 degree angle, so as not to disturb the arrangements inside.

  14. Carefully add three tablespoons of water into each bag, then seal the top edge of each parcel by the same folding process as before.

  15. Place the parcels onto two baking trays and transfer to the oven to bake for 15-20 minutes. If the parcels are in the oven at different heights, swap over the shelves halfway through.

  16. The parcels should have puffed up like pillows. Take the parcels out of the oven and place straight onto warmed plates.

  17. For the salad, combine all the salad ingredients together in a large clean bowl and season, to taste, with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

  18. To serve, present the parcels on their plates and cut them open at the table. Serve the salad in its bowl and allow people to help themselves.


For the monkfish parcels

  • 250g/9oz couscous
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 6 spring onions, thinly sliced
  • 2 preserved lemons, washed, sliced, inner pulp removed, skinroughly chopped
  • 2 tsp chopped fresh coriander
  • 18 cherry tomatoes, quartered
  • 1.2kg/2lb 9oz monkfish fillet
  • 6 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp saffron threads
  • 2 small fennel bulbs, cut in half, core removed, sliced into 5mm slices
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper

Ingredients for salad

  • 1 cucumber, peeled, seeded and sliced
  • 15 radishes, sliced thinly
  • 200g/7oz Greek yoghurt
  • 1 lemon, juice only
  • ½ tsp sumac (available from some supermarkets and Middle Eastern shops)
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper

Shopping List

Bake-in-the-bag monkfish with preserved lemon couscous

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Cooking ingredients

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