The monkfish is one of the top fierce-looking among the sea creatures out there. They have ugly smug-looking faces that only a Momma monkfish could love. For describing how they look succinctly, picture this: their horrible faces have around, a wide smile which reveals two rows of bear-trap like teeth that are pointing backward. With their faces alone, they can send a poor small fish shivers down their spine. How they lure smaller fishes is another story.
They attract their prey using a little fishing rod positioned just over their mouth. That unsuspecting small fish will be invited for coming closer, and when they are near, this monstrous creature will open their mouth and chomps them down.
You will not see them in all their glory when you shop for anglerfish. Most fishmongers remove their heads because they are not edible (and frightening too). There is good meat in their cheeks though, and some remove them skillfully. The rest of its body or “tails” or monk tails are the edible part and what you can see in the fish market. These monk tails are tapered like lobster tails. Anglerfish is known as a ‘poor man’s lobster’ in the past.
Basically, you should remove the head because it is not edible. You should also know how to remove the membrane from monkfish because it will shrivel around that flesh when you cook them.
The meat from anglerfish is lean but firm and textured with sweet flavor just like lobster meat. It is not tender or flaky like sole and cod. In France, they are known as gigot de mer or “meaty as a leg of lamb.” A large anglerfish tail can resemble a tenderloin that is perfect for roasting.
It is known for containing healthy nutrients and is recommended as part of a healthy diet. However, although this type of fish is nutritious, it should be consumed with caution because it contains mercury. That recommended portion is about six ounces per month, and it should be given to children and pregnant women.
Because this anglerfish is wet, there are techniques for how to cook monkfish to taste like lobster. There are many healthy ways of cooking this fish either by baking, poaching, grilling, or roasting it to perfection. Its flesh is lean so they can quickly dry out if you overcook them.
The healthiest way how to cook monkfish is not to add any fat. You can poach your anglerfish in a liquid of your choice including wine, water, and stock or tomato sauce. Adding different spices and herbs will surely add flavor to this lean meat.
To poach a monkfish, you need to bring your saucepan with liquid to a boil before placing the meat. You can use a spoon for covering the anglerfish completely. Allow it to cook until you can pierce the flesh with a skewer or thin knife.
You can add extra flavor to this liquid by caramelizing dice onions using olive oil before you put the liquid. Serving suggestions include poached or blanched vegetables and some starch.
Another healthy way to cook anglerfish is by broiling. This cooking method is low in fat but brings out the flavor of the anglerfish. It is best to use monosaturated oil (olive oil) to keep the cholesterol level at a minimum and reduce this risk of heart disease.
It is easy how to broil anglerfish, place it on the broiling pan coated with a non-stick spray and lightly brush with olive oil. This oil will keep that meat from getting dry. You can sprinkle it with salt and pepper and your favored spices. Keep on turning them for your fish for browning evenly.
Roasting is another excellent way of preparing your anglerfish. Just remember, to enjoy its health benefits use only healthy oils like olive or corn oil. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. While preheating the oven, prepare these fillets by placing them in a baking dish drizzled with oil. Sprinkle the meat with your spices, salt, and pepper. Roast them for not more than 15 minutes depending on how thick are the fillet. Try adding roasted potatoes when you serve them.
You will be surprised to know that anglerfish is one of these few that can withstand grilling. The best technique on how to grill monkfish is to get that flesh with skin on. You can cover them with salt, pepper, spices, and oil. When you have heated that grill (gas or charcoal will do), place the fillets carefully with their skin side up. How long to grill a monkfish? Cook one side for minutes and try to loosen them up from the grill with a spatula to prevent them from sticking. Grill the other side for another five minutes.
While this may not be the healthiest option for cooking your anglerfish but using oil instead of butter can be forgivable. If you want your fillets to be crispy, you should salt them an hour before cooking to remove this moisture. You can scour your fish in flour and fry them to perfection on the skillet. Add your favorite veggies to go with this fillet and enjoy it.
If you want them extra crispy, you can dip your fish dredge in flour into these beaten eggs before putting them in flour again. That is the crispiest and healthiest fillet you’ll ever taste.
Aside from the recommended vegetables as accompaniment for your cooked anglerfish, a good wine will make it more enjoyable.
Like all dishes with fish, the anglerfish goes well with your standard white or even some exceptional reds. However, to savor the taste, these dishes call or the tangy white. Other suggested wine selections that would be perfect for your perfectly cooked monkfish would be a sweet fino sherry, a dry mineral Sauvignon Blanc, a rich dry rose, and some champagne would be great too.