Everything you need to know about Monkfish

It looks like a nightmare, tastes like a dream. Its nickname is the sea-devil, it has a huge spiny head and fang-like teeth. Any guesses yet? Come out from behind the sofa and embrace the wonder which is… monkfish. Yes, it looks pretty horrifying, but its gorgeous meaty texture and subtle sweetness will make this tasty terror your new favourite thing. Trust us!

What does Monkfish taste like?

We often say that monkfish has a similar taste and texture to lobster (which is never a bad thing!) With a firm and meaty texture, it is dense with a mild, slightly sweet flavour. With a single bone running through the tail and a robust texture, it is both versatile, delicious and can be treated in a similar way to a joint of meat.

How do I prepare Monkfish?

It’s unlikely you’ll ever have a whole monkfish to worry about (let alone one which is 18kg!) but in this film, our Founder Paul and expert filleter Matt show you the whole process of preparing a HUGE monkfish. It’s not often they make it to market with the heads attached (the tail is where the best of the fish can be found so the heads are removed at sea) so when the fishermen caught a monkfish THIS impressive, we simply had to bring it back whole! Prepare your strong stomach, watch and enjoy…

Monkfish tail is where you’ll find the firm, fleshy section of the fish – so this is cut and removed from the body. The head of a monkfish is terrifying, but it yields the cheeks which are in-fact incredibly tasty. They’re often discarded but they’re wonderfully meaty and can be easily removed (if you love scampi, you’re in luck as they have a very similar texture!)

We can send your monkfish tails whole with the skin on, with the whole skin off or skinned and filleted off the bone, depending on how you would like to receive your monkfish. If you’re preparing your own, here’s a little summary of how to prepare it!

  • Wash the fresh tails in cold water before prepping.
  • Start from the top and insert a sharp knife between the meat and the skin, carefully work the knife around until the skin is released, and you can remove it entirely.
  • Starting at the thin end of the tail, remove any tough sinew, the blue membrane as well as any dark spots in the flesh.

Job done!

How do you cook Monkfish?

Monkfish is a very moist fish so don’t be worried if you see liquid oozing from the flesh while you’re cooking it. If you’re roasting, grilling or barbecuing your monkfish, you can salt the fish or soak it in brine to eliminate the liquid (it can sometimes interfere with the flavour).

Monkfish can be roasted, steamed, baked, pan-fried, poached, barbecued or grilled, and incorporated into stews, soups and curries! Steaming is probably the healthiest way to cook monkfish as there’s no addition of fat or oil but every technique guarantees delicious fish.

To make sure your monkfish is cooked, insert a sharp knife into the thickest part of the fish, if it’s fully cooked, the knife will be hot to touch and the flesh will feel ‘springy’.

When is Monkfish in season in the UK?

Unlike some fish which have very particular ‘seasons’, monkfish can be enjoyed all year round as they’re caught using both fix nets and with trawls. Monkfish stocks off the coast of Cornwall are positive, and according to our friends at the Cornwall Good Seafood Guide, that’s because Cornish fishermen have been working closely with Government scientists on a project called the Fisheries Science Partnership, focusing on assessing the abundance of various fish species in our waters. The results were fantastic, concluding that south west monkfish is being fished sustainably, they’re not an endangered species and stock levels are on the increase! Monkfish stocks in Cornwall are in such good health, they have been added to the 'Recommended' list in the Cornwall Good Seafood Guide.

Where shall I buy Monkfish?

We source our monkfish from The South West fishery, a British fishery showing sustainable levels of Monkfish, from day boat fish from markets including Newlyn, Plymouth and Looe. We offer 1kg tails and can send them however you would like them prepared or depending on how you plan to cook the fish. If you’re wondering how much monkfish you need per person, one kilogram will be enough as a starter for 6 or a main course for 3.

Not only will you receive the finest, freshest monkfish from Cornwall, Fish for Thought will deliver nationwide straight to your door in fully recyclable packaging. Delicious, healthy, convenient and unbeatably fresh!

How long will Monkfish last?

A common question to ask is how long will monkfish last in the fridge or freezer. Once you’ve received your monkfish, it can be kept in the fridge for 1-2 days. Once it has been cooked, monkfish will last around 3-4 days in the fridge.

If you’d like to extend the life of your monkfish, you can freeze it by wrapping it with airtight, heavy-duty foil or freezer paper inside a freezer bag to prevent burn. If properly stored, you can expect monkfish to last – at its best quality – for around 6-8 months.

What are the Health Benefits of Monkfish?

Monkfish is very lean protein and a good source of Omega 3 providing 140mg per 100g of fish. It also provides many vitamins and minerals required in our daily diet to stay healthy and fit. Monkfish is a great source of:

  • Phosphorus – which looks after your cells, gives you energy and maintains the chemical balance in your body
  • Selenium – regenerates the activity of vitamins C and E and enhances your immune system
  • Vitamin B12 – protects against heart disease and cancer
  • Vitamin B6 – supports the immune system
  • Niacin – for energy production and may protect you from cancer

What Monkfish recipes shall I try?

As monkfish flesh is so robust, it makes a great addition to a stew or curry. It can even be cooked on the bone similarly to a shoulder of lamb. We have known chefs to coat a skinless tail with curry paste, and then roast and carve it like a joint!

Monkfish works fantastically well on the barbecue as the strong, meaty flesh doesn’t fall apart – perfect for skewers! Over to Chef Adam to show you his recipe for Vietnamese Monkfish Kebabs, perfect for a picnic or seafood barbecue feast…

We hope we’ve convinced you that monkfish is the ocean’s most delicious sea monster!

Make it #ASummerOfSeafood and enjoy mighty monkfish with Fish for Thought. Click here to shop Monkfish!