An ugly fish, which has a huge head, accounting for half its weight. However, there is inner beauty! Usually only the tails are sold, and range from 350g to 4kg. Once skinned, trimmed and the membrane removed, the tails yield some fantastic meat, with a firm, meaty texture and a taste similar to langoustine, or scampi: in the 1970s, it was only fished commercially as a cheap scampi substitute.
Today, however, monkfish is highly valued in its own right. Great for searing and then roasting, monkfish will take on strong flavours and herbs well. It’s particularly good coated with chopped rosemary and olive oil, wrapped in Parma ham and baked.
The liver is also highly prized, and is a delicacy in Japan where it determines the price of the fish. Similar species known as Stargazers are found in warmer waters around Australia and New Zealand but are a bony fish, not cartilaginous like the European monkfish.
Text by Seafish