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Leiths Advent - DEC 4 - Monkfish Christmas Sharing Canapé

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Leiths Advent - DEC 4 - Monkfish Christmas Sharing Canapé

Photo by Charlie Richards.

These bite-size monkfish pieces, dipped in homemade citrus mayonnaise, work wonders as an appetiser. This crowd-pleaser is perfect to present for a cosy night in or for a more lively evening of Christmas entertaining.


Makes 25

Monkfish Canapé, served with citrus mayonnaise and pickled cucumber
350g monkfish or cod cheeks (or fillets portioned in approx 2cm x 6cm strips)
100g plain flour
3 eggs
200g panko
1 lemon, zested
1 orange zested
1 egg
1 egg yolk
Pinch of mustard
250g neutral sunflower oil
200g cucumber (½ large)
10g dill
5tbsp Gherkin pickling liquid


  1. Firstly prepare the monkfish cheeks by removing any sinew from both sides, then divide each cheek into three or two equal size pieces. Place in the fridge whilst preparing the panné.
  2. To prepare the panné you will need three separate tubs. In the first tub place the flour with a good pinch of salt. In the second tub place the eggs which have been whisked together and strained through a fine sieve. Finally in the third tub zest the lemon and mix with the panko breadcrumbs.
  3. Remove the prepared cheeks from the fridge and panné by first coating in seasoned flour, then coating in the sieved egg and finally in the lemon panko breadcrumbs. Each cheek should have an even distribution of breadcrumbs over its surface. Once this is achieved place into the fridge on a wire rack to chill until service.
  4. Meanwhile prepare the mayonnaise. In a blender place the egg yolk, egg, mustard powder and a pinch of salt.
  5. Begin to drizzle into the machine, slowly at first ensuring a stable emulsion is forming. Continue to drizzle slowly until all the oil is incorporated.
  6. Once all the oil has been added remove the mayonnaise from the mixer and season to taste with the citrus zests. Place into the fridge covered until ready to use.
  7. Now prepare the cucumber. Cut four finger length pieces of cucumber. Using a mandolin or knife cut 2mm thick slices leaving the skin on but stopping once you reach the watery core. Repeat on remaining 3 sides.
  8. Take the 2mm thick slices of cucumber and cut into 2mm thick julienne. Then petit brunoise the cucumber.
  9. Once the cucumber is diced mix it with the gherkin liquid and finely chopped dill. This can be used straight away but benefits from marinating in the fridge for a couple of hours.
  10. To Assemble:
  11. To assemble the cheeks preheat some vegetable oil to 180⁰.
  12. Recheck the mayonnaise for seasoning and place into a piping bag
  13. Deep fry the cheeks for 2-3 minutes or until golden and crisp. Drain on tissue paper and season lightly with salt.
  14. Place a small amount of the mayonnaise onto the serving plate, the monkfish cheek on top of that and garnish with a small spoon of the pickled cucumber and serve.

Head to our Ultimate Guide to Christmas Cooking for all the recipes you'll need for the festive season!

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