Monkfish with fennel, tomatoes and anchovies

Perfect for a summer’s evening, this light and healthy monkfish recipe from Mimi Spencer and Sam Rice is surprisingly easy to make.

Monkfish and Fennel with herbs, tomatoes, and anchovies

We’re forever on the hunt for speedy suppers that are just a bit special – and this fits the bill perfectly. It’s one of those dishes that tastes as though it’s been hours in the making, but in fact, the prep couldn’t be easier, and most of the ingredients (bar the fish) are probably already lurking in your fridge. Simply add a sturdy white fish – we’ve used monkfish here, but halibut would be equally delicious – or calamari and king prawns, and eat with a warm wholemeal pitta to mop up the densely savoury juices. Very little could improve it, but Sam says a glass of chilled Sancerre works a treat.


Serves 2

  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • Half a fennel bulb, trimmed and thinly sliced
  • 4 ripe tomatoes, quartered
  • 4 anchovy fillets, chopped
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 250g monkfish fillet or tail, membrane removed and cut into 3cm-thick medallions
  • Handful of Greek olives, pitted and chopped
  • Handful of coriander leaves, chopped
  • Handful of basil leaves
  • Handful of dill, chopped


  1. Heat the olive oil in a medium frying pan, add the fennel and sauté for several minutes until softened, and then add the tomatoes and anchovies.
  2. Season and simmer for 10–15 minutes until the tomatoes start to soften (see Midlife Hack below).
  3. Add the monkfish medallions and olives, cover with a lid and simmer for a further 5–10 minutes until the fish is cooked through. Stir through the herbs and serve.
  4. Midlife Hack: You can cook the recipe to this point, then cool and refrigerate until required.

Health Tip

Every ingredient in this dish is a Midlife winner, but the real superstar is fennel. Its phytonutrients help maintain healthy bones, decrease blood pressure and promote heart and gut health. It can even help boost the elasticity of your skin.

The Midlife Kitchen: Health-Boosting Recipes for Midlife and Beyond by Mimi Spencer and Sam Rice is published by Mitchell Beazley, £25. Photographs by Issy Crocker.

Last modified: June 10, 2021

Written by 8:32 am Recipes