Some species are good arguments for never seeing your meal before it arrives at the table. A fine example is the monkfish, which tastes wonderful but looks like something out of a science-fiction horror movie when alive. Anatomically, it consists of a massive, basketball-shaped head and belly, studded with warts, spikes and razor teeth, and with a muscular tail to push it through the sea from meal to meal. The tail is the only portion that's of culinary interest.
On Your Plate
The tail of the monkfish produces four beautifully symmetrical fillets of firm, sweet-flavored flesh. Its flavor and appearance are the reason it's sometimes called "poor man's lobster," though, in truth, monkfish often costs more than the similarly spiny crustacean. Monkfish is firm enough to stand up to grilling and broiling, though it's more often pan-seared, poached or baked. The flesh is pale and mild, and can be matched with traditional fish sauces such as beurre blanc or with bolder alternatives such as fruit salsas. It's sustainably harvested along most of the East Coast, and classed as a "Good Alternative" by the Monterey Bay Aquarium's Seafood Watch program.
- On Cooking: A Textbook of Culinary Fundamentals; Sarah Labensky, et al.
- New England Ocean Odyssey: Monkfish Look Like They Could Bite Your Foot Off
- Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch: Monkfish
- Photo Credit Ben185/iStock/Getty Images
How to Bone a Monkfish Tail
Monkfish, also known as goosefish, is a species of anglerfish that can grow up to 5 feet in length. Its tail can...
How to Broil Monkfish
Monkfish, also known as goosefish or angelfish, can reach up to 4 feet long. This fish has a large and flat head....
How to Bake Monkfish
The monkfish you find in stores come from the tail section, known for its meaty, firm flesh and taste redolent of lobster...
How to Make Cod Taste Like Lobster
Lobster is considered something of a luxury, and therefore it has been priced accordingly. If you love the taste of lobster but...
The Alternatives to Monkfish
Monkfish are a dense breed of fish, which makes them ideal for soups and stews. If you are looking for a substitute...