Brunswick Inn Executive Chef Ali Waks Adams and Chef Frank Giglio, owner of Three Lily Provisions in Thorndike, squared off in a “Chopped”-like KNOW FISH Seafood Throwdown sponsored by One Fish Foundation and Northwest Atlantic Marine Alliance at the Common Ground Fair earlier this month. The mystery fish was monkfish and Waks Adams charmed the judges with this sauce, which you can serve with a variety of sautéed, grilled, broiled or roasted fish. She smoked her tomatoes and monkfish on the grill. I adapted the recipe by charring the cut tomatoes on the stovetop and searing the monkfish in a cast-iron pan before finishing it in the oven.

Serves 4

4 (4- to 5-ounce) portions monkfish loin, trimmed of membrane

Kosher salt

4 tablespoons butter

2 slices smoky bacon, chopped


1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved

1 leek, white and light green parts, chopped

2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced

3 anchovies packed in oil, minced

1/2 cup dry vermouth

1/4 chopped herbs such as fennel fronds, parsley, chervil or chives


Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F. Season the fish with salt and let rest 15 minutes.

In an oven-proof skillet over medium high heat, melt 1 tablespoon butter, add bacon and cook until crisp. Use a slotted spoon to remove bacon bits to a flattened paper bag to drain. Pour off all but 2 tablespoons of fat from the pan. Place the pan over medium high heat and place monkfish loins into the pan. Leave the loins alone until they develop a nice golden-brown sear on 1 side, 3-4 minutes. Use a fish spatula to flip the loins over and slide the pan into the warm oven to finish cooking, about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, place a large cast iron skillet over high heat. When the pan is hot, place tomatoes cut side down into the pan. Leave the tomatoes undisturbed until they develop a nice, dark char on the cut side, 5-7 minutes. The tomatoes will still be plump. Turn off the heat. Remove the tomatoes from the pan with the fish spatula. You’ll need to slide it under the tomatoes to release them.

Add remaining 3 tablespoons butter to the pan and place it over medium heat. After it melts and begins to foam, add the leeks, garlic, anchovies and 1 tablespoon of anchovy oil. Sauté until leeks soften, 3-4 minutes. Add the vermouth and simmer until the liquid is reduced by half. Stir in tomatoes and herbs. Serve with fish.

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