Monkfish With Chopped Olives And Lemon Saffron Rice

ABOUT GREEK SAFFRON: It’s called Krokos Kozanis and it is cultivated in the northern Greek area of Kozani. Greek saffron has been known for its aromatic and therapeutic values since prehistoric times, evinced one of Greece’s most famous archeological finds, the famous fresco of the saffron harvester unearthed at Akrotyri on Santorini. Greeks use saffron as a spice, but we also use it in teas and in our grappa-like quaff, tsipouro. Greek saffron is highly aromatic and a pinch will go a long way.

5 min
30 min


For the rice:

For the fish

  • 1 ½ pounds 750 g monkfish fillets
  • Strained juice of half a lemon
  • 3 Tbsp extra virgin Greek olive oil
  • 4 sprigs of thyme leaves only chopped finely
  • Salt pepper to taste


  1. Heat 4 tablespoons olive oil in a large, heavy, deep skillet over medium heat and cook the shallots until wilted and lightly browned, about 10 – 12 minutes.
  2. Add the rice and stir to coat in the olive oil. Pour in the wine, lemon juice, and zest and steam off the alcohol. Add the stock or water and reduce heat to low. Season with salt and pepper. Dilute the saffron in 2 tablespoons of hot water and stir into the rice. Cover and simmer the rice for about 12 – 15 minutes, or until tender.
  3. Season the chopped olives with pepper and 1 tablespoon of olive oil.
  4. Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C). Pat dry the monkfish fillets. Gently rub the remaining olive oil and salt and pepper onto the monkfish.
  5. Place an ovenproof pan on a medium-high heat then add the monkfish. Sauté for 2 minutes, then carefully turn over and sauté for another 2 minutes.
  6. Scatter the olives on the fillets and press gently to adhere (be careful as the fish will be a bit hot). Transfer the pan to the oven and roast the fish for 8-10 mins, depending on the thickness of the fillets. The monkfish will flake easily when pressed with a fork when it's ready.
  7. While the fish is cooking heat the remaining olive oil in a small pan over a low heat, then stir in the lemon juice and most of the thyme leaves. Season with a little salt and pepper. Cook together for 1 min, then take off the heat. When the monkfish is ready, take it out of the oven, serve it over the rice and pour over the lemon and thyme oil. Garnish with the remaining chopped thyme to serve.

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