This was my winning dish for Celebrity MasterChef. I really wanted to impress John and Gregg, but I also wanted to stay ‘true’ to what was essentially my cooking: really tasty, good food that looked pretty but was not intimidating! I love monkfish, though I would never have cooked it before MasterChef, and I thought a light sauce would go very well with it. The butternut squash fondant was an afterthought because I didn’t want to use potato. All the flavours really worked together and I was, and still am, very proud of this dish.
- 50 g (2 oz) butter
- 300 g (10 oz) butternut squash, cut into rounds, about 5mm (1?4 inch) thick
- 150 ml (1?4 pint) fish stock 175 g ( 6 oz) French beans 4 wafer-thin pancetta slices
- 4 monkfish fillets, weighing about 200 g (7 oz) each, skinned and cut into medallions about 2.5 cm (1 inch) thick
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- A few fresh basil leaves, to finish
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- To make the sauce vierge, mix the tomatoes with the garlic and herbs in bowl, then moisten with olive oil and lemon juice to a consistency of your liking. Season well and set aside until needed.
- Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F), gas mark 6.
- Melt the butter in an ovenproof frying pan that is large enough to accommodate the butternut squash snugly. Add the squash, and cook over a high heat for 2 minutes on each side.
- Pour in the stock, season with salt and pepper and cook in the oven for 20–25 minutes, or until tender.
- Blanch the French beans in a saucepan of salted boiling water for about 3–4 minutes. Drain and refresh under cold running water. Pat dry, then separate into little bundles and wrap each with a slice of pancetta. Secure with a cocktail stick. Place on a baking tray and put in the oven for about 5 minutes, or until the beans are heated through and the pancetta is crispy.
- Brush the monkfish with olive oil and season well. Heat a non- stick frying pan and cook the fish for 3–4 minutes on each side, or until cooked through.
- Place the butternut squash on serving plates, arrange the monkfish around it and spoon the sauce vierge over and around. Place the beans on one side and finish with fresh basil.