This Italian seafood tomato stew combines supple monkfish with mussels in a tomato passata sauce flavored with white wine, onions, garlic, mussel juices, basil and olives. A wonderful combination of seafood and tomato flavors that goes well with a side of crusted bread or a simple pasta dish. I recommend this dish with a side of Lemon Garlic Fettuccine with Parmesan.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 45 minutes
Special Tools: Large Deep Skillet with lid
1 lb. Mussels (scrubbed, cleaned and beards removed)
3 Sprigs of Fresh Basil
4 Garlic Cloves chopped
1.25 Cups White Wine
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
1 Tablespoon Butter
1 lb. Monkfish filet skinned and cut into 1 inch chunks
1 Yellow Onion chopped
18 oz Jar of Passata
1 Tablespoon Tomato Paste
1 Cup Black Olives pitted
Salt and Pepper
Check the mussels. If any are open, tap the shell on the counter to see if it closes on its own. If it remains open, discard the mussel.
Place the mussels, 1 sprig basil, half the garlic and all the white wine in a large deep skillet with lid. Cover and bring to a brisk simmer. Cook for 3-5 minutes or until all the mussel shells have opened.
Discard any mussels that did not open. Transfer the mussels and the cooking liquid to a large bowl and set aside.
In the same large deep skillet place 1 tablespoon olive oil and 1 tablespoon butter over high heat. Add the monkfish and stir fry until the meat changes color on all sides (about 4-5 minutes). Transfer the monkfish to a plate and set aside.
Add the remaining olive oil to the skillet and place over high heat. Add the onions and the remaining garlic to the pan and stir fry until the onions are soft and translucent (about 5-7 minutes). Pour in the Passata, the reserved cooking liquid from the mussels and the tomato paste. Bring the pan to a boil then reduce the heat to a light simmer. Cover and cook for 20 minutes.
While the sauce simmers remove and discard the top shells from the mussels.
Add the monkfish back into the sauce and cook for 5 minutes. Stir in the olives and remaining basil. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper. Place the mussels on half shells on top of the sauce, cover and heat the mussels for 2 minutes.
Serve hot with crusted bread or pasta on the side.