Not a looker
Monkfish is not the prettiest amongst fish. A huge head, slimy skin and beady eyes. Reason why in various languages it comes with the name ‘Devil Fish‘ or ‘sea devil‘.
Part of the Lophiid angler fish, we are going to deal exclusively with the European piscatorius (angler) type. Though we use the Mediterranean version, others do the trick as well.
We strongly advice asking your trusted fishmonger to clean the monkfish for you. You might want to watch. And you’ll see how the head is separated from the body or tail. The fish has a big back bone that easily comes out. Without scales, the skin comes off relatively easy.
The meaty fillets are a delight. They contain no small bones and are compact. And somehow remind lobster tail meat.
Do not let the head go to waste but boil it down to obtain broth. This goes for most fish heads.
Monkfish Sicilian Style
Now your have your monkfish fillets, let’s get cooking. This dish contains ingredients that profusely grow or are found in Sicily. Capers, olives, tomatoes, oregano and anchovy.
Do not let the fish simmer for long. Five to ten minutes are sufficient to cook it through. Longer jeopardizes the texture.
Since the capers and anchovy are salt, do not add extra. And avoid other spices. More than adding flavor, they create confusion.
Barding not larding
As we mentioned earlier, monkfish has delicate meat. Overcooking is an easy made mistake. Wrapping lard or bacon around the fillet (barding) avoids this flaw. Vegetarians may use cabbage leaves.
Still the cooking time must not exceed twenty minutes. Our advice is to broil/grill your fish. And serve with new potatoes or spinach.
Poor man's lobster
In some parts of the world monkfish is nicknamed poor man’s lobster. Sure less expensive than its crustacean cousin, it is by no means inferior.
You may prepare your fish just as you would do with lobster. Butter baste it and have yourself a feast.