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Monkfish: Preparing a Unique Fish

Monkfish: Preparing a Unique Fish

In the culinary world, cooking monkfish yields a delicate, almost lobster-like flavor. Bearing huge heads and needle-sharp teeth, monkfish would more likely win the "King of Ocean Monsters" award than the "King of Ocean Delicacies" award. Looks can be deceiving, though. Let's explore a few delicious reasons to cook monkfish.

What is a Monkfish? History and Taste Profile

Monkfish History:
 Until recent years, monkfish were overfished due to efforts to replace overfished cod and halibut. Now, advances in sustainable aquaculture have helped contain the excesses of monkfish overfishing, allowing seafood lovers to enjoy this unique sea creature without any guilt.

Monkfish Taste: Monkfish is valued for its firm, lean, bright-white flesh and mild, sweet flavor, without the "fishy" taste many people associate with eating fish. Monkfish are known as the “poor man’s lobster,” since monkfish taste like lobster, at a fraction of the price.

Monkfish Fun Facts: Monkfish are deepwater, bottom-dwelling fish. Monkfish do not swim; rather, they use their fins to "walk" along the ocean floor and find prey. And what is that fleshy appendage dangling from the monkfish, you ask? The monkfish uses this appendage to attract prey! It's also a fish that causes confusion in how to spell it - it only goes by monkfish, not monk fish or munkfish!

Monkfish Nutrition Information

The following nutrition facts are per 100 grams of raw Monkfish:
Calories: 76
Total Fat: 1.5g; 2% DV
Saturated Fat: 0.3g; 2% DV
Cholesterol: 25mg; 8% DV
Sodium: 18mg; 1% DV
Total Carbohydrate: 0g; 0% DV
Dietary Fiber: 0g; 0% DV
Protein: 14g; 28% DV
Vitamin A: 1% DV
Vitamin C: 2% DV
Calcium: 1% DV
Iron: 2% DV

Monkfish Cooking Tips

Following the steps below, you can execute almost any recipe calling for monkfish. Cooking monkfish is easy; just keep these tips in mind:

Preparing Monkfish

Only the monkfish tail is edible, whether whole or filleted.
Remove any gray- or tan-colored membranes before cooking.
Thoroughly rinse the monkfish in cold water before cooking.
One hour before cooking, thoroughly salt the monkfish tail. Monkfish are naturally high in moisture, so applying salt dehydrates the fish before cooking.

Cooking Monkfish

Given the high moisture content of monkfish, cooking methods using dry heat are best. After preparing the monkfish as described above, choose the cooking method that works best for your recipe.

Pan-Roasting Monkfish

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Place the seasoned monkfish on a shallow baking pan.
  3. Sear for two minutes on each side (four minutes total).
  4. After the monkfish is finished searing, move the pan containing the monkfish to the preheated oven.
  5. Bake the monkfish until done (about 6-8 minutes).

    Grilling Monkfish

    1. Preheat your grill to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
    2. Brush olive oil onto the monkfish.
    3. Season the monkfish with salt and pepper to taste.
    4. Place the monkfish on the grill. Cook for about 5 minutes on each side.
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