Monkfish Terrine with Dried Tomatoes and Fresh Basil

Agassiz does recommend authors to eat fish, because the phosphorous in it makes brains. But I cannot help you to a decision about the amount you need to eat. Perhaps a couple of whales would be enough.

– Mark Twain

Mark Twain’s witty quotes always make me chuckle. This one here holds no relation to the topics for today other than the fact that it is fishy.

I used to work for an extremely well known retail pharmacy company in England. One of the side effects of working there is that sometimes people think you have as much knowledge as god might have, so you can imagine how this brings small problems once in a while.

One day a man came in and asked me a question. I didn’t understand so I asked him to repeat. After asking him to repeat a few times I was beginning to feel embarrassed. I could understand nearly all of his words but not the meaning of them all put together. It was slightly frightening, as if something was wrong with me. So finally I said: I’m very sorry Sir, but I really don’t understand what it is you are asking me.

Oh, don’t you? He looked genuinely surprised. I’m asking you about advanced methods to preserve and freeze fish when fishing.

It wasn’t medicine nor symptom related so I felt relieved that I didn’t understand him. Unfortunately for him, I think he was quite disappointed that I wasn’t able to handle his request.

Terrine de lotte

The terrine I made this Terrine de lotte grillée aux tomates confites from my recipe book Terrines by Rudolphe Paquin. This recipe can be translated into grilled monkfish terrine with tomato confit. It’s the first time I’ve made a fish terrine and I’ll definitely be making more.

Dried tomatoes in oil

Dried tomatoes ingredients

Fresh basil

Monkfish terrine

Monkfish terrine ingredients

Monkfish Terrine with Dried Tomatoes and Fresh Basil Recipe


1kg monkfish
200ml chicken broth
200g dried tomatoes in oil
8 sheets of gelatin
1 bunch fresh basil
1/2 teaspoon olive oil

Take the dried tomatoes out of the oil and dry them on some absorbent paper. Wash the basil.

Slice the monkfish into fillet slices of about 2-3cm wide. Heat the olive oil in a pan. Cook the monkfish on both sides for a few minutes until they are done. Add some salt and black pepper.

Prepare the chicken broth. Let it cool.

Line the terrine dish with cooking paper.

Place a layer of dried tomatoes on the bottom of the dish. Add a layer of cooked monkfish on top. Cover with a layer of basil leaves. Repeat until you finish the ingredients. I ended up with 3 layers.

Dissolve the gelatin in a small quantity of water then add it to the chicken broth. Pour it all over the terrine.

Let it set in the fridge for 24 hours. It can be stored in the fridge for about one week.


  • I used my homegrown basil.
  • I bought the dried tomatoes but someday I’ll make my own.
  • I made my own chicken broth by boiling some chicken with some salt and black pepper. I would imagine dissolving a chicken stock cube in boiling water would work too.
  • I used black pepper though white pepper would go really well with it too.
  • The ingredients from the photographed book is enough to fill a 1.2 litre terrine dish. Mine is only 0.8 litres. I bought 1kg of fish but the fishmonger eliminated the spine and some other bits for me so at the end there is really less than 1kg fish in my recipe.
  • With regards to lining the terrine dish, I used a parchment paper that I found in my drawers. The point of lining the dish is to later be able to take out the terrine. Obviously I used the wrong type of paper because when I tried to take out the fish terrine by pushing out the paper, the paper was torn and came out cleanly, while the fish terrine stayed inside my terrine dish. Yes, it was quite funny. That’s why I didn’t manage to make clean slices for the photos. Also, I think next time I won’t even bother with lining the dish with cooking paper. The flavour itself pardoned the shape of the slices more than enough.

Monkfish terrine recipe


(Visited 68 times, 1 visits today)


  1. pianolearner 2014-06-16 at 18:20

    That looks very tasty. We often do white fish with sundried tomatoes, but we normally just put the tomates on tomates and then wrap them both with parma/serrano ham and bake. I’d never thought of doing a fish terrine.

    I can also recommend monkfish or cod poached in beer with serrano ham. It really works.

  2. lapetitecasserole 2014-06-16 at 19:16

    This recipe sounds divine Sophia! I’ve marked it, I will try it!

  3. emmabarrett1508 2014-06-16 at 20:50

    This looks absolutely delicious. I love monkfish and what a fantastic way to cook it. Thank you for sharing. Emma xx

  4. Ngan R. 2014-06-16 at 23:54

    I really enjoy monkfish, though some people look down on it (too bad for them). The flavors of this terrine sound delicious (sun dried tomatoes are one of my favorite additions to food). Your basil is so much more abundant than mine – I’m so jealous! My plant barely yielded three stalks of fruitful basil leaves. Wish I could just swing by and ask you for a stalk. And have a slice of that terrine of course. 🙂

    1. Sofia // Papaya Pieces 2014-06-17 at 08:54

      I really enjoy it too. Here in Spain it’s one of the expensive fishes so people do not look down on it.. I have even more basil now. I went away last week, and when I came back apparently it had been raining because my basil looks like a jungle now!! I’d love it if you could just pop over and have a slice. Then I could go over your place and have a chat too! xx

  5. Michelle 2014-06-17 at 01:42

    “I could understand nearly all of his words but not the meaning of them all put together.” I think you’ve just described me every time I go to France! Your terrine looks/sounds delicious. I’ve had luck using plastic wrap in similar preparations. Though I know, I know, it’s probably not good for me or the environment to use plastic wrap…

    1. Sofia // Papaya Pieces 2014-06-17 at 08:56

      Haha actually it’s sort of like that when I go to France too! Ok plastic wrap is an idea then (even if it’s not good for anything…). Have a lovely day!

  6. Dalo 2013 2014-06-17 at 04:04

    The Mark Twain quote is so good…as is your story about the man asking how to preserve fish while freezing. I have such things happen a lot in China, where I understand each character/word ~ but not the meaning (and usually it is an idiom that I am clueless about). Nice photos 🙂

    1. Sofia // Papaya Pieces 2014-06-17 at 09:45

      You can be let off for it if you don’t understand the meaning. In my case the man was speaking in English… Thanks, this is one of the very rare occasions that I follow a recipe from a book, so I thought I would photograph the terrine with the book.

  7. Pemberley Cup & Cakes by Rosa 2014-06-17 at 09:45

    Wow, Sofia, I love fish, monkfish and this particular and extremely tantalizing recipe! You’re a great chef!
    As for the fishing doubting man… oh, well, there must be all sorts of intriguing minds walking on earth 😉
    Un beso!

    1. Sofia // Papaya Pieces 2014-06-17 at 09:55

      I love monkfish too! Haha I love your description: intriguing minds 🙂 Un beso!

  8. Mabel Kwong 2014-06-17 at 11:48

    I love fish. Funny you posted this post. Today I had a colleague ask me if I ate fish, and I said yes. Steamed, boiled, fried fish…and she nodded in approval. Does monkfish stink? Of course fish has fishy smells, but I reckon some are stronger than others 🙂

    1. Sofia // Papaya Pieces 2014-06-17 at 11:51

      I love fish too! Also like you: steamed, fried, whatever 🙂 Monkfish doesn’t stink that much, but the head does. They have a big head and once I decided to cook one. Huge mistake! My place smelt of really strong fish for a about 5 days, ugghhh. When I told the fishmonger, she said, oh noooo you can’t cook the head, thats the worst stinky thing you could do. Haha. The rest of it is fine though.


Leave A Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *