Monkfish and pata negra ham with pea, ham and asparagus risotto

If you’re a glutton for the unique taste of Spanish ham, James Martin’s monfish and pata negra dish will be your food heaven.


For the pea, asparagus and pata negra ham risotto
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 110g/4oz pata negra ham (jamón ibérico), or similar Spanish cured ham, cut into 0.5cm/¼in thick lardons
  • 25g/1oz butter
  • 1 large shallot, peeled, finely chopped
  • 1 small garlic clove, peeled, finely chopped
  • 250g/9oz arborio rice, or other Italian risotto rice
  • 150ml/5fl oz dry white wine
  • 1 litre/1¾ pints hot chicken stock
  • 200g/7oz frozen peas
  • 3 tbsp mascarpone
  • 25g/1oz parmesan cheese, grated
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the monkfish with pata negra
  • 500g/1lb 2oz monkfish tail fillet, skin removed, cut into chunks
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 50g/2oz butter
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tsp fresh marjoram leaves
  • 20 asparagus spears, trimmed to 7.5cm/3in, woody ends discarded
  • 4 thin slices pata negra ham

Preparation method

  1. For the pea, asparagus and pata negra ham risotto, heat the oil in a frying pan over a medium heat. Add the pata negra lardons and fry until the oil from the ham has been released and the ham is crisp. Remove from the pan and set aside.

  2. Melt 25g/1oz of the butter in a large pan over a medium heat until foaming, then fry the shallot and garlic for 2-3 minutes, or until softened.

  3. Add the risotto rice and stir well to coat in the butter. Fry for 1-2 minutes, or until the rice grains start to turn translucent.

  4. Add the wine and bring to the boil, then reduce the heat until the mixture is simmering. Simmer for 3-4 minutes, stirring well, or until nearly all of the liquid has evaporated.

  5. Add a ladleful of the chicken stock to the pan and stir well. Simmer for 1-2 minutes, or until nearly all of the stock has been absorbed by the rice, then add another ladleful of the stock. Repeat the process for about ten minutes, then add the crisp pata negra lardoons and stir until well combined.

  6. Continue to add stock to the risotto, as before, until it is cooked through but still al dente, about a further ten minutes.

  7. Meanwhile, bring a pan of salted water to the boil, add the peas and cook for 1-2 minutes, or until tender and warmed through. Drain well and transfer to a food processor.

  8. Blend the peas to a fine purée.

  9. Meanwhile, for the monkfish with pata negra, preheat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas 6.

  10. Season the monkfish, to taste, with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

  11. Heat an ovenproof frying pan over a medium heat until hot, then add the butter and olive oil. When the butter is foaming, add the monkfish and marjoram leaves and fry for 2-3 minutes, stirring well, or until browned on all sides.

  12. Add the asparagus, then cover the pan contents with the slices of pata negra ham.

  13. Transfer the pan to the oven and roast for 4-5 minutes, or until the monkfish is cooked through and the ham is just crisp. Remove from the oven and set aside to rest for one minute.

  14. Just before serving, stir the pea purée, mascarpone and parmesan into the risotto.

  15. Season, to taste, with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

  16. To serve, add half of the asparagus to the risotto and stir well to combine. Spoon some of the risotto into the centre of each of four serving plates. Top each portion with some of the monkfish, the remaining asparagus spears and a slice of crisp pata negra ham.

James Martin recipes from Saturday Kitchen Best Bites

Less than 30 mins preparation time

30 mins to 1 hour cooking time

Serves 4

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