Saturday, November 7, 2009

Try Something New: Monkfish

Do you remember the Battle Anglerfish episode on Iron Chef? I'm talking the original Iron Chef here, not the mamby-pamby American version. I was horrified when The Chairman unveiled the secret ingredient. That fish was about the ugliest thing I've ever seen. I'm talking scary ugly! Although I could not look away as the masters set about breaking down the whole fish and using just about every part of it.

Fast forward a few years. I was having our friends Donna and Jeff over for dinner and wasn't sure what to cook. I always get a bit intimidated when cooking for Donna and Jeff as they are both quite fabulous cooks and well versed in the Atlanta dining scene. I wanted to make something that wouldn't stress me out but that would have real wow factor. I found this beautiful chowder recipe in Everyday with Rachael Ray magazine which called for bacon and crab, two of Donna's favorite things. But I'm not a big fan of crab so I needed an alternative. I went to the fish counter at Harry's Farmer's Market and spoke with the fishmonger. He suggested monkfish fillets. He said it was very similar in flavor and texture to lobster and absolutely delicious. He had me at lobster so I bought up a few fillets and got cooking. It was a huge hit! Monkfish does indeed have a similar taste and texture of lobster tails, it's sweet, juicy and meaty. No wonder it's called "the poor man's lobster."

I made the monkfish stew again for a family gathering at my sister's house. My brother-in-law Jason, whom we call "Nature Boy," told me that monkfish was also known as anglerfish...

ACK! I had an Iron Chef flashback and would have been completely freaked out if I wasn't already addicted to that sweet lobster-y taste. They don't always have monkfish at Harry's but they had some beautiful fillets Wednesday so I bought one for that evening's supper. I cooked it simply, lightly dredging it in flour seasoned with salt, white pepper and Old Bay seasoning. I then sauteed it in olive oil and a bit of butter in my new cast iron skillet. I served the fish with delicata squash and Brussels sprouts that I roasted in the oven until golden and delicately caramelized. This was my favorite preparation yet, simple and absolutely delicious.

Click here to watch Battle Anglerfish.


  1. i wish i liked seafood. honestly.. i ate crab before and spit it into a napkin. i'm pathetic. i wish i liked it.. i'd feel good if i did! i want to be healthy! ps.. i am still LOVING my juicer!

  2. That picture seriously freaks me out!

  3. I remember that episode! I loved the old Iron Chef.

  4. I'm behind on my blog-reading! But as one of the privileged guests who got to eat that chowder, I had to comment on this one =) I wouldn't care if that fish was 5X uglier, it is DELICIOUS. I mean, look at lobsters, they look like giant ocean bugs but taste like heaven. All the same, I'm glad that they aren't displaying whole anglerfish in the seafood case.