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Recipe

Recipe: Pioppi Diet Monkfish Skewers with Basil Pesto

August 28th 2017 / Victoria Woodhall / 0 comment

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A healthy Mediterranean main course from the authors of the Pioppi Diet

The Pioppi Diet book caused a storm in the health world when it launched in summer 2017 - we even dubbed it 'the only diet book you'll ever need' thanks to its common-sense advice and myth-busting approach to previous guidelines around healthy Mediterranean eating.

Written by a consultant cardiologist, Dr Aseem Malhotra (who wrote our controversial piece on good and bad fats here), and filmmaker Donal O’Neill, the book takes its inspiration from a tiny Italian village named Pioppi where the small population are living long, healthy lives.

Of course, while the science is all in the book (and we say it's well worth a read), in practice you need to know what to cook up to adopt the Pioppi lifestyle. As a taster, try this recipe for monkfish skewers - and if you like this, check out the Pioppi Diet Chocolate Coconut Porridge.

The Pioppi Diet Monkfish Skewers with Basil Pesto - serves 2


For the monkfish skewers

300g monkfish, cut into 3cm-square chunks (cod or halibut would work well too)

1 yellow pepper, cut into 3cm

1 courgette, cut into chunks

1 small aubergine, cut into chunks

1 red onion, cut into quarters, rings separated

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the basil pesto:

1 garlic clove, chopped

25g roughly chopped fresh basil

50g pine nuts, toasted

100 ml extra virgin olive oil

75g parmesan cheese, grated

Lemon wedges, to serve

You will need: 4 bamboo or metal skewers (soak bamboo skewers in cold water for half an hour to prevent them charring) and a large pestle and mortar (optional)

Put all the ingredients for the monkfish skewers into a large mixing bowl and gently mix gently, making sure that everything is covered in the oil, salt and pepper. On each skewer, alternate the fish and the vegetables, cover and place in the fridge.

Make the pesto. This is a classic for a reason, and is packed full of things that are really good for you. If you want to do it the traditional way, you will need a large pestle and mortar.

Crush the garlic (a little pinch of salt may help you get it going), then add the basil leaves and pine nuts little by little until you have a thick paste.

Add the olive oil and part stir, part crush everything together.

Add the parmesan and mix well. Alternatively, put the garlic, basil and pine nuts in a food processor and blitz while slowly adding the oil, then transfer to a bowl and stir in the parmesan. (If you have any left over, it can be kept in the fridge in an airtight container, under a layer of extra virgin olive oil, for a week.)

Heat a griddle pan until you can feel the heat coming off it when you hold your hand above it. Place the skewers on the pan and cook for 2 minutes, then rotate. Repeat twice times until the skewers are cooked evenly.

To serve, divide between two plates, cover with the pesto and enjoy.

A green leaf salad is ideal with this.

The Pioppi Diet by Dr Aseem Malhotra and Donal O’Neill is published by Penguin Michael Joseph, £8.99

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