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Monkfish Recipes & Preparation

How to prepare and cook monkfish

 

Monkfish, with its unique appearance and succulent flesh, is a true gem of the sea and is often referred to as 'poor mans lobster'. Known for its firm texture and sweet flavour, monkfish is a versatile fish and pairs well with strong flavours such as curry or salty ingredients like black pudding or bacon. 

So what is Monkfish?
Native to the North Atlantic Ocean, monkfish—also known as anglerfish or lotte—is a deep-sea species prized for its meaty texture and mild, sweet taste. Despite its intimidating appearance with its wide mouth and sharp teeth, monkfish yields delectable fillets that are perfect for a variety of cooking methods. You can usually buy monkish as fillets from the tail, whole tails with the backbone still in, or monkfish cheeks.

How to Prepare Monkfish
If you buy monksih fillets it wil already have been skinned, cleaned and prepared ready for cooking.  However if you buy the whole tails preparing monkfish is relatively straightforward.  It's essential to remove the thin membrane covering the fillets before cooking. To do this, simply use a sharp knife to cut away the membrane and any dark spots, then rinse the fillets under cold water. From there, you can cut the fillets into portions or leave them whole, depending on your preference.

 

Cooking Suggestions
Monkfish's robust texture and mild flavour make it suitable for a wide range of cooking methods. 

To establish whether monkfish is cooked, insert a sharp knife into the thickest part of the flesh – if it’s cooked through the knife will come out hot to the touch; the flesh should also feel springy.

Whether cooking monkfish tail or fillet make sure that you rest the cooked fish for about 5 minutes before serving.

Monkfish fillets can be pan-fried or roasted to give the fillets colour. An average-sized monkfish fillet (around 100g) will take around 5–6 minutes.

Monkfish suits being grilled or barbecued because the robust flesh doesn’t fall apart easily. It can be cubed and skewered to make kebabs. Marinating it first is a good idea, because monkfish soaks up flavours well.

Here are a few suggestions to make the most of it:

Grilling: Marinate monkfish fillets in a mixture of olive oil, garlic, lemon juice, and herbs, then grill them over medium-high heat until they're cooked through and slightly charred on the outside. Serve with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice for a simple yet delicious meal.
Pan-Searing: Season monkfish fillets with salt, pepper, and your favourite herbs or spices, then sear them in a hot skillet with butter or olive oil until they develop a golden crust on both sides. Finish by basting the fillets with butter and lemon juice for added flavour.
Baking: For an easy and elegant dish, wrap monkfish fillets in parchment paper with sliced vegetables, herbs, and a splash of white wine. Bake in a preheated oven until the fish is cooked through and the vegetables are tender, then serve with crusty bread for a delightful meal.


Monkfish is a versatile and delicious seafood option that is really easy to use in lots of dishes. Whether grilled, pan-seared, baked, or skewered, monkfish offers endless possibilities for creating memorable dishes. 

monkfish tailmonkfish tail

Recipe Ideas
Monkfish with Garlic Butter and Capers: Sauté monkfish fillets in a skillet with garlic-infused butter until golden brown. Add capers, lemon zest, and a splash of white wine to the pan, then simmer until the sauce is slightly reduced. Serve the monkfish with the sauce spooned over the top, garnished with fresh parsley.

Monkfish and Chorizo Skewers: Thread chunks of monkfish and sliced chorizo onto skewers, alternating between the two ingredients. Grill the skewers until the monkfish is cooked through and the chorizo is crispy, then serve with a side of aioli for dipping.

Looking for more ideas?

See our recipes for Monkfish wrapped in Bacon or Monkfish Curry

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