Simon Gault’s Exquisite Monkfish Fillets with White Bean Purée and Pomegranate-Lemon Salsa

As an acclaimed chef, my mission has always been to deliver unforgettable culinary experiences. Today, I share with you a dish that captures the essence of gourmet dining at home: my Monkfish Fillets with White Bean Purée and Pomegranate-Lemon Salsa. This recipe, a blend of rich textures and vibrant flavours, showcases the tender monkfish seasoned with the unique Gaults Moroccan Flavour Shot. The smooth, zesty white bean purée is a testament to the versatility of classic ingredients, and the fresh pomegranate-lemon salsa adds a burst of colour and tang. Dive into this step-by-step guide and discover how to create a restaurant-quality dish right in your kitchen, a perfect blend of tradition and innovation.

White Bean Purée with Lemon


  • 1 medium onion, roughly chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil (for sautéing)
  • 1 can 425 g (approx. 15 oz) cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • ½ cup olive oil (divided)
  • 1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
  • Zest of half a lemon
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste


Start by draining and rinsing the cannellini beans in a colander. Prepare the onion and garlic as directed.

In a medium-sized skillet, heat the 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat. Add the chopped onion and sauté until it starts to soften. Add the minced garlic and continue to sauté, ensuring the garlic doesn’t brown.

Transfer the sautéed onion and garlic to a food processor. Add the cannellini beans, half of the olive oil (¼ cup), lemon zest, and lemon juice. Process until smooth.

While the processor is running, slowly drizzle in the remaining ¼ cup of olive oil until the mixture is creamy and well combined. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Taste and adjust seasoning as necessary.

Transfer the purée to a bowl. It can be served immediately as a dip or spread. If storing, cover and refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 3 days. Before serving from the fridge, let it sit out for about 10 minutes to reach a spreadable consistency.

Optional: Garnish with a drizzle of olive oil and/or some lemon zest when serving.

Pomegranate & Lemon Tomato Salsa


  • 1 large tomato, Roughly 1 heaped cup of chopped tomato flesh (from the large tomato)
  • 1 small bunch fresh parsley, roughly chopped (about 4 tablespoons)
  • ¼ cup Pukara pomegranate balsamic
  • ½ cup Pukara lemon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon Murray River salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • ¼ teaspoon grated lemon zest


Start by cutting the tomato into wedges. Squeeze out and discard the seeds and juice. Roughly chop the flesh and transfer to a bowl.

Add the roughly chopped parsley to the tomatoes.

Pour in the Pukara pomegranate balsamic and Pukara lemon extra virgin olive oil. Season with the Murray River salt, a good grind of black pepper, and the grated lemon zest. Mix well to combine all the ingredients.

The salsa can be served immediately or set aside until ready to use. If storing, cover and refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 3 days. Before serving from the fridge, give the salsa a good stir to mix the flavours.

Monkfish Fillets with Gaults Moroccan Flavour Shot

Serves 4



Begin by seasoning the 4 monkfish fillets with salt. After ensuring each fillet is well-coated, spread them evenly with the Gaults Moroccan Flavour Shot.

Choose a frying pan that can comfortably fit the size of your fillets. In this pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. The oil should shimmer but not smoke. If your monkfish fillets have skin, start by placing them skin-side down. This will give the skin a nice crispy texture. Avoid overcrowding the pan, which might cause the fish to steam rather than sear.

Gently position the seasoned fish fillets in the preheated pan. If they stick, give them a moment; they will release naturally when perfectly seared. Turn the heat slightly lower and sauté each side of the fillets for about 1 minute per side. However, the exact duration may vary based on the thickness of your fillets. Aim for an internal temperature of 50°C – 55°C (122°F – 131°F) for the perfect doneness.

Once sautéing is complete, remove the pan from the heat and let the fish rest in the pan for 4–5 minutes, turning occasionally. This resting phase is essential for the juices to redistribute, ensuring a juicy fillet upon serving.

If you don’t have a thermometer, insert a sharp knife into the thickest part of a fillet to gauge doneness. It should feel hot to the touch upon removal, and the fish should have a springy texture.

Simon Says: If your target doneness is the “medium” range of 57°C – 60°C (135°F – 140°F), removing the monkfish from the heat source at 50°C – 55°C (122°F – 131°F) and allowing for carry-over cooking should get you there. However, there’s a bit of variability depending on factors like the fillets’ thickness, the pan’s material (e.g., cast iron retains heat longer than stainless steel), and how high the heat was during cooking.

Plating Instructions:

As the fish rests, gently reheat the white bean purée until it’s warm.

Give the room-temperature salsa a thorough mix to ensure even flavour distribution.

Spoon a generous amount of the purée onto your plates, creating a smooth base.

Carefully place the rested monkfish atop the purée.

Finish by drizzling or spooning the vibrant salsa over the monkfish.


  • If fresh Monkfish proves elusive in your local market, fear not. Opt for other delectable fish fillets such as snapper, kahawai, tarakihi, or kingfish. These New Zealand favorites each possess their own unique texture and flavour, promising a top-tier culinary experience.
  • A simple twist to the White bean purée: Try it on crostini, crowned with chopped olives. Alternatively, it shines as a dip when paired with vegetable sticks, corn chips, or pita chips.
  • Pomegranate balsamic eluding you? Swap it out for Pukara Guava Balsamic Vinegar, Pukara White Balsamic, or a high-caliber red wine vinegar.
  • For a tantalizing marinade, combine Pukara Lemon Extra Virgin Olive Oil with pomegranate balsamic, a hint of grated garlic, and a sprinkle of Moroccan seasoning. It marries beautifully with lamb, pork, or chicken.
  • The sweet, sour, and tangy allure of pomegranate balsamic doesn’t stop with fish. Consider it as a glaze for lamb, pork, or even duck. Moreover, it complements beetroot and eggplant exceptionally well or adds a zesty kick when splashed over your favourite salad.
  • A quirky note on Monkfish: Don’t be surprised if it excretes a milky-looking fluid during cooking; it’s perfectly natural.

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