Ugly is only skin deep!

Baby spinach

Yep, it has got to be one of the ugliest fish in the sea, but what a delicious meat! What I like most about monk fish is the texture of its meat. It is very dense and so it can be cooked in any way one could cook lobster or even beef. I often cook it in what we call “American Sauce” (flambé with Cognac + white wine and tomato paste) or with a mushrooms, veal stock and port sauce (as I would one version of my tournedos Rossini). It also goes very well with fresh ceps or morels. Any kind of mushroom really…

Boat and seagullAngler2Monk fish and bacon

Today I simply poached my monk fish in Chardonay (with bay leaves, fresh thyme and fenel sprouts + salt and pepper). A thick filet takes about 12 minutes on medium heat. Please be careful though, as the texture turns to dry rubber when overcooked. I then made a few fresh baby spinach sweat in a tablespoon worth of extra virgin olive oil; et voilà. I added a cold sauce made of “fromage blanc” and chives from the garden as well as a few strips of extra crispy bacon. I like surf and turf if you couldn’t tell :0)

SpinachSpinachMonk fish with baby spinach and bacon

30 Comments Add yours

  1. …we call this fish Scorfano….and we also call ugly creatures with the same name: Scorfano. But oh…sometimes a Scorfano can be the most delightful dish in the world if only it would be you the one who prepares it 🙂

    1. My French Heaven says:

      I’ll make some in tomato sauce when you come visit. You’ll love it!!

      1. Add some olives please….mmmm…..00.42 in the night and look what we are thinking about! This is absolutely scandalous 🙂 my dear!::))

        1. My French Heaven says:

          Scandalous is good darling! Too many boring and conventional people in this world! Foodies rock!

          1. CHEERS! By saying this we just became lifelong friends (laughing now)…however…you are not allowed to make me want go in the kitchen searching for something good to eat at this hour…I am supposed to be sleeping, correct??!

          2. My French Heaven says:

            Gelato sounds good right about now though… 🙂 🙂

  2. Steve says:

    I could really relate to the “poor-man’s lobster” reference, as it was my immediate reaction the first time I cooked it a few years back; how much the taste and texture resembles lobster tail. But there is one caveat that you point out, it easily overcooks and turns to rubber. I love your Calamari in “American” sauce and would not have thought of it for monkfish, but I can now well imagine it. Being easily suggestible around food, I will now rush out to my fish monger and buy one for tonight’s dinner (already cleaned and filleted, which is de rigeur)!

    1. My French Heaven says:

      Be careful Steve as I do not remember if I leave the fish in the sauce the whole time… Maybe color the sauce first, reduce it and then put the fish back in it… I honestly cańt remember… Let me know how you do it and how it turns out!!

  3. That IS a surpassingly ugly fish, but the end result looks and sounds delicious.


  4. You make anything you prepare sound incredible but this is one dish I will pass on! 🙂

  5. I had a chuckle on what you described as an “American sauce”. I’m sure a lot of people over here would have said that was a French sauce with the cognac. 🙂

  6. juliabarrett says:

    Yikes! But I do believe we should know and appreciate what we’re cooking and eating!

  7. Amanda says:

    Yum. Monkfish is good…and ugly. When I was a fish monger we called it “the poor man’s lobster”. I really like it. I’m making shad roe tonight. Talk about ugly. I’m afraid to photograph it!

  8. I had no idea a monkfish looked like that. It certainly tastes fantastic though. I like your title. And I really like the simplicity in your preparation of both the fish and the spinach. Lovely post.

  9. whipadish says:

    What a wonderful dish and, and usual, such beautiful photography! Thanks for sharing! 😀

  10. This looks delicious! I’ve never thought about poaching monkfish – a great idea, thank you.

  11. jjbiener says:

    My favorite way to cook monk fish is on the grill. But then, that is mostly how I cook fish. I live in Florida so we grill year around, and when fish comes out tasting so good on the grill, one forgets there are other ways to cook it. Frankly, I haven’t even tried poaching. I will have to think about how I can add that to my repertoire. Thanks for the idea.

  12. Beautiful photos, I’ve yet to try monkfish but it looks very satisfying. I think he’s a charmer, don’t you 🙂

  13. pinkagendist says:

    The other day I was invited to a dinner and it was served with saffron cream and a few mussels on top- superb combination!

  14. Monkfish and bacon are a match made in heaven. Your dish looks wonderful. 🙂

  15. Maybe I’ll give monkfish a try. Never had the inclination before. It sounds delicious.

  16. sabine says:

    Thanks for reminding me that monkfish can also be poached! Never tried that. I usually fry it (with bacon also) in butter or olive oil, and place it over some nice risotto or so…as of looks: true, an ugly guy, but it´s the inner values that count, don´t they? (and by the way, a turkey is not a beauty queen either, however I like the meat;-))

  17. The Lu Life says:

    I love monkfish, and your post had me salivating for some!

  18. I adore monkfish too, for the texture of its meat and its taste. Thanks for your preparation ideas!
    PS Perhaps in the fish world he is handsome 😉

  19. chef mimi says:

    I saw my first monkfish in Ireland at a market and I was so shocked. I have a photo of the big mouth with all of the teeth. Terribly ugly fish. But what you did with it looks light and lovely. Wish I could have joined you!

  20. It really is a very unattractive fish but when cooked well very delicious. Love your simple preparation. The bacon is an especially nice touch.

  21. Rosa de los Vientos says:

    I don’t agree, Stéphane! That fish is beautiful, look at that skin!
    Nice recipe, it looks so attractive on that plate.
    I think I would have eaten it all before being able to take a shot. You must be a very patient person. 😉 hahaha!
    The American Sauce, you also mention, is new to me. Very interesting. Going to try that one as well.

  22. Angeline M says:

    You have brought the beauty to the surface. Wow, this looks delicious!

  23. What a delicious looking meal!
    And I am in complete agreement – that is one ugly fish!!!!

  24. Wonderful post. Monkfish is one of my favourites and as you say, so versatile and you can cook it with quite strong flavours. I love simple food with the best ingredients as you’ve made here. Fabulous meal.

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