Monkfish spaghetti with saffron and capers

Tom Aikens poaches monkfish in a cream and saffron reduction for a very sophisticated pasta sauce
By Tom Aikens
Monkfish spaghetti with saffron and capers
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 6
  • Cook Time: 40 minutes
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Effort: easy


  • 600-700 g monkfish tails, cut into pieces
  • 25 g baby capers
  • 1 tbsp chopped basil
  • about 400 g spaghetti
  • 3 plum tomatoes, seeds removed, finely chopped

For the saffron sauce

  • 50 g butter
  • 300 g shallots, sliced
  • 500 ml white wine
  • 1 litres fish stock
  • 2 large pinches saffron
  • 500 ml double cream
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 50 ml lemon juice


1. For the saffron sauce: melt half the butter in a large saucepan and gently fry the shallots for 3-4 minutes, until semi-soft. Pour in the wine, turn up the heat and boil until the volume of liquid has reduced by two-thirds.

2. Pour in the fish stock and reduce again by two-thirds, skimming off any froth that rises to the surface (about 15-20 minutes). Keep the sides of the pan clean or the sauce will go brown.

3. Add the cream and saffron and keep simmering until reduced to half the volume. Remove from the heat.

4. Pour the sauce into a blender and season with salt (to taste), sugar and lemon juice. Add the remaining butter and blend for a minute. Pass the sauce through a fine sieve and set aside in a clean, wide saucepan.

5. Using the packet instructions, boil the spaghetti in a pot of salted water until it is tender but still has some bite. Drain thoroughly.

6. Meanwhile, bring the sauce to a simmer over a low heat. Season the monkfish pieces and poach them in the sauce until cooked through, about 6-8 minutes.

7. Stir the capers and basil into the sauce and serve with the spaghetti, sprinkled with the chopped tomatoes.

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