A strange-looking fish that is firm textured and has delicious tasting meat, similar to that of lobster or chicken. The similarity in flavors that makes it taste like lobster is due to the eating habits of the Monkfish which feeds on shellfish such as crabs, lobsters and other crustaceans. In Europe, the Monkfish has been treasured for many years as a fish providing a tasty and delicious meat. Many American fisherman however, would dispose of the Monkfish as this fish often was found inside many lobster traps as they attempted to prey on shellfish. U.S. fishermen now keep the Monkfish and sell it commercially as more consumers and restaurants prepare it often. U.S. consumers typically eat only the meat from the tail, unlike, European consumers who eat the tail meat and use the head to make fish stock.
An average size Monkfish will weigh from 6 to 12 pounds, providing many long tail filets when the firm fleshy tail section is cut and removed from the body of the fish. Monkfish can be prepared using several different cooking methods, such as poaching, roasting, sautéing, or grilling. If Monkfish is not available, it may be substituted with grouper, tilefish, or lobster. When cleaning, be sure the fish is thoroughly skinned, paying particular attention to the center ridge of the tail. Skin remaining on the ridge will cause the fish to be tough when cooked. To check the fish for doneness, use the tip of a sharp knife and cut through the thickest part of the fillet. If the fish has been properly cooked, the meat will appear opaque, but will still be moist. The flavor of this species of fish goes well with a variety of sauces, much like lobsters, crabs, or shrimp. Monkfish may also be referred to as Angler, Allmouth, Bellyfish, Bullmouth, Frogfish, Goosefish, or Sea Devil.