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Fish & Seafood Guide: Monkfish, The Poor Man’s Lobster

Monkfish is known for its huge head and mouth, and its tight, meaty white flesh that is often compared to lobster meat. It’s commonly used in French cuisine, but it has only recently become popular in America.

Only the monkfish tail is edible, and it’s sold whole or filleted. Any gray or tan membranes should be removed before cooking. The flesh is bright white, lean and mild-tasting.

This versatile fish can be prepared using almost any cooking method, and it can be served in soups and stews. Its lean flesh tends to dry out if overcooked. Monkfish has a unique flavor and texture, but you can substitute snapper, sea bass, halibut, mahi-mahi or sea scallops.

Poor Man’s Lobster:

Monkfish have a mild taste and texture similar to lobster to the extent that they are sometimes called “the poor man’s lobster.” Fishermen tend to remove monkfish tail meat and livers to sell, discarding the rest. Monkfish is sold fresh whole, in skinless tail fillets, and whole skin-on tail fillets as well as frozen skinless tail fillets and whole skin-on tails. Tail meats range from 1-4 lbs. and the meat is dense, boneless, and firm. Tail meat should have flesh that’s off-white to pale gray when raw. Avoid tails that are discolored at the edges and headless monkfish that have dried up blood, indicating it’s begun to age.

Have you ever tried Monkfish? How did you cook or eat it?



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