Thursday, June 16, 2011


It’s been a while since I put up a savoury post of any kind – not since my to-die-for pizza recipe! I am still on that pizza kick, by the way – but once in a while everyone needs to jazz things up. Somehow, though I had never eaten it before in my life, I got it into my head that I wanted to try one of the ugliest fish in the ocean – monkfish. It’s called a “wolf fish” too, for good reason: the whole animal is one Hell of a scary looking thing (if you’ve ever seen the “Money, Money, Money” scene in Mamma Mia!, you’ve seen one), and the only part of the beast that’s commonly thought to be edible is it’s massive tail. It’s also one of the leanest fish out there, even though the meat is as hearty as tuna loin or halibut and grills, sears and roasts remarkably well.

Flavour-wise, though it’s often called “poor man’s lobster”, I on no level tasted that type of sweetness or butteryness. In fact, the overall taste is fairly mild, almost like a muted tuna, and while apparently it (and it’s liver) are used in sushi and sashimi I wouldn’t recommend it raw to the squeamish or the overly sensitive. Even as fresh as possible (it was practically still swimming when I bought my fillets in Kensington market) the smell and texture is... odd to put it mildly. Unlike any “fish” smell I’ve ever experienced, it is pungent and lingers on your fingers even after washing, although that disappears with even quick cooking. However, it is one of those creatures of the sea that will stink up your house for hours if you steam or microwave it (for God’s sake, don’t microwave any fish!). No matter how frugal-minded you might be, resist the temptation to try and skin it yourself (unless you have a wicked-sharp knife and experience with them). They aren’t your typical scaly fish, but have a thick skin and a slimy membrane coat underneath that that’s creepy enough just touching, let alone trying to remove. Besides, monkfish is one of the cheaper fish out there – it’s worth your while to have the skilled professionals do the work for you this time.

I mentioned that monkfish will give your home an oh-so-lovely aroma when you choose to steam it. Well, it was never mentioned to me, and so what do you guess I did with the first round of my catch (I froze the other 2 portions)? Yup, I steamed the sucker. Thankfully, the meal tasted absolutely fantastic – a little salty (I would reduce the tamari by ½-1 tbsp and definitely use low-sodium broth), and the “fishy” smell infiltrated the vegetables a little bit – but it wasn’t obtrusive. Next time I’d probably just pan-sear the fish, poach the veggies and combine them at the end in the bowl with a nice side of brown Basmati.

Steamed Asian Monkfish with Poached Vegetables
Serves 1
½ cup vegetable broth
2 tbsp tamari
1 tbsp honey
1 tsp grated ginger
3.5 oz broccoli, chopped
12 green beans, chopped
Juice of 1 lime
5 oz raw monkfish, cubed
1 tbsp minced green onion (I used the green parts of my Egyptian onion)

  1. In a deep saute pan, bring broth, tamari, honey and ginger to a boil.
  2. Add all the vegetables, cover and cook 3 minutes.
  3. Drizzle lime juice over monkfish cubes and season with pepper.
  4. Lay fish on top of the vegetables, cover and cook 3 minutes.
  5. Remove vegetables and fish with a slotted spoon and keep warm.
  6. Bring liquid to a boil and reduce for 5 minutes, until thickened.
  7. Spoon vegetables into a bowl, pour hot sauce overtop and garnish with minced green onion tops (and Siracha if desired).
Amount Per Serving
Calories: 276.1
Total Fat: 2.7 g
Cholesterol: 50.0 mg
Sodium: 2,604.9 mg
Total Carbs: 37.0 g
Dietary Fiber: 7.3 g
Protein: 29.7 g

1 comment :

  1. I don't remember eating Monkfish or seeing it at the market. That's a healthy meal.


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