Exploring different varieties of seafood is a great way to introduce new and healthy flavors into your life. Here at Global Seafoods, we would like to introduce you to one of our favorites, monkfish. While the name might sound unusual, monkfish is a surprisingly delicious and mild fish that even your pickiest eaters will enjoy. Join us here at Global Seafoods while we explore cooking monkfish and discuss why it's a perfect cheap imposter for lobster!
Monkfish is growing in popularity because of its extreme versatility. You can cook monkfish using any of your favorite cooking methods. Preparing monkfish is so easy that even your kids will enjoy getting into the kitchen with you. Hang around with Global Seafoods while we introduce you to this scary looking, but delicious giant monkfish. We will discuss the best ways to cook monkfish and how you might be missing out if you've never heard of this type of fish before.
What is Monkfish?
Monkfish are a variety of bottom-dwelling fish that are also called frogfish or sea devils for its strange appearance. With its long dark body, arm-like fins, and giant mouths full of teeth, the monkfish looks like its straight out of a horror movie.
The monkfish is a bottom-dwelling fish found in the waters of the Atlantic Ocean. Monkfish live in both shallow and deeper oceans. Rather than swimming, the monkfish uses is arm-like fins to walk across the sandy ocean floors while using its large mouth to swallow almost any fish that it encounters.
Monkfish are a predatory fish species using an appendage that looks like bate to attract prey into its mouth. Talk about creepy!
Monkfish may be frightening to look at, but we promise they are delicious and healthy to eat! Monkfish are available to eat almost year-round and are a sustainably caught fish that you can feel comfortable eating.
Monkfish have a firm light-colored fillet that does not flake when cooked. The signature firmness of monkfish is part of what makes it so easy to prepare.
One monkfish can provide anywhere from one to four pounds of fillets.
People often call the monkfish the "poor man's lobster" because of its light colored flesh that doesn't flake during the cooking process and its flavor that is surprisingly similar to cooked lobster. Monkfish is mild tasting with a slight sweetness like that of lobster.
Monkfish can grow up to four feet long, with the monkfish tail being the most prized part of the fish. Monkfish tail meat is firm and has virtually no bones making it easy to prepare and enjoy. Monkfish fillets often have a grey-ish blue membrane that you should remove before cooking. When cooked, the membrane becomes tight and stuck to the monkfish fillet causing the meat to become tough.
Most of a monkfish is not eaten, the large tails provide tasty fillets while monkfish liver is popular in Japan in soups and monkfish stew. Monkfish liver is lower in fat than other liver types and is a friendlier alternative to foie gras.
While monkfish may look like a sea monster from great depths of the oceans, it is a delicious and sustainable alternative to other more expensive kinds of seafood, such as lobster and sea bass. We highly recommend that you give monkfish a try!
Monkfish is a lean white fish making it an excellent choice for people looking to add more lean proteins into their food choices. Monkfish is high in protein and low in sodium. Monkfish is also an excellent source of B vitamins, potassium, phosphorus, and selenium.
One 4oz portion of monkfish contains only 86 calories and 16 grams of protein, with only 1 gram of fat!
Monkfish and Mercury:
Monkfish is a larger fish that is long-lived and survives off of eating smaller fish. Monkfish does have moderate mercury levels compared to smaller species of fish but can still be safely consumed. When compared to fish such as sea bass or mackerel, monkfish have lower concentrations of mercury.
With excellent nutrition, lobster-like monkfish flavor, and a much more inviting price point, monkfish has long been prized in Europe and is becoming more popular in the United States. We hope that we can convince you to give this sustainable and healthy wild-caught fish a try!
What Does Monkfish Taste Like?
While lobster is very expensive to purchase regularly, monkfish can give you the succulent taste and texture you are missing with lobster, but for a much more affordable price.
Monkfish tail fillets will cost you, on average, around $8 per pound while a lb. of lobster meat can cost upwards of $45 per pound. With growing concern about the future of lobster populations, lobsters' pricing is likely to continue to increase. While lobster continues to be out of budget for most, monkfish taste can satisfy those urges while mimicking the lobster's taste and texture. Monkfish rolls, anyone?
How to Cook Monkfish:
You can cook monkfish using virtually any seafood cooking method, making it an exciting fish to eat. Monkfish tail fillets are firm, and they won't fall apart on you while cooking making it a super easy fish to learn how to cook! You can convert any of your favorite white fish recipes into a tasty monkfish recipe!
Cooking Methods for Monkfish:
- Grilled Monkfish
- Fried Monkfish
- Poached (most lobster-like when poached)
- Oven Roasted
- Monkfish Kabobs
- Monkfish Stew
- Baked Monkfish
One of our favorite ways to enjoy monkfish is by using a fish marinade and then cooking it on the grill. Grilled fish can be tricky as most fish can fall apart on the grill. Monkfish is unique because it is firm and doesn't flake apart when cooked, making it a perfect candidate for the grill, even for beginning seafood grill masters.
Global Seafoods Marinated and Grilled Monkfish Recipe:
- 2-4 monkfish fillets
- Juice of 1 1/2 lemons
- 4 Tablespoons of high-quality olive oil
- 3 cloves of garlic minced
- 1/2 teaspoon of course ground black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon of salt
- 1/2 teaspoon of red chili flakes (optional for a slight kick in heat!)
- Make the Marinade: Combine the lemon juice, olive oil, salt, pepper, garlic, and optional chili flakes and stir well to combine.
- Place the Monkfish fillets in a large zip lock bag and cover with the marinade.
- Marinade the monkfish in the fridge for up to 30 minutes while you preheat your grill.
To Grill Monkfish:
- Preheat your grill to medium-high heat
- Prep your grill by spraying grilling racks with non-stick cooking spray
- Place your monkfish fillets on the grill and close the lid, grill for five minutes, and then flip your fillets and grill for another five minutes. Monkfish fillets will turn a solid white color when fully cooked.
- Serve immediately!
Side Dishes for Monkfish:
- Grilled seasonal vegetables
- Rice Pilaf
- Grilled Asparagus
- Rolls and butter (pho lobster rolls!)
- Roasted potatoes
- Horseradish mashed potatoes
- Sautéed greens
- Roasted or steamed broccoli
- Monkfish tacos
Monkfish Wine Pairings:
- Sauvignon Blanc
- Pinot Grigio
Frequently Asked Questions:
How do you grill monkfish?
Monkfish does very well on the grill—monkfish pairs beautifully with any number of marinades from citrus to spicy. Monkfish is a perfect candidate for the grill because of its texture and firmness, and it won't fall apart on the grill.
Grill your monkfish on a medium-high flame for about five minutes per side. You can brush the monkfish with olive oil during the cooking process to keep it from drying out and keep the monkfish fillets from sticking to the grill.
What does monkfish look like?
Honestly, monkfish is a frightening looking fish. Monkfish has a long, dark body with small creepy eyes and a large mouth full of teeth. Monkfish is a predatory fish that doesn't swim so much as it walks along the ocean's sandy bottom looking for any fish or sea creature it can fit into its mouth.
While monkfish has a surprisingly frightening appearance, we are thankful for the first brave fishers who decided to give monkfish a try. Now we know how genuinely delightful the mild, slightly sweet monkfish fillets taste.
Why is monkfish called poor man's lobster?
Monkfish is called the poor man's lobster because of its ability to mimic the lobster's taste and texture. Like lobster, monkfish has a firm, mild, and slightly sweet flavor. Monkfish's texture is similar to lobster because unlike other whitefish, monkfish doesn't flake apart when cooked.
When you poach monkfish, you get a taste and texture so close to lobster than many people will cut lobster with monkfish to make their lobster stretch further!
Sometimes the Ugliest foods are the tastiest!
Whether you are trying monkfish for the first time or looking for a cheaper alternative to lobster, we strongly encourage you to give this creepy looking fish a try. With an amazing flavor and fantastic nutritional profile, monkfish will be something your entire family will love.
Try monkfish using your favorite marinades and virtually any cooking method to create a tasty and healthy meal!
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