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Cooking Stargazer | Recipes for Monkfish | Poor Man's Lobster

Cooking Monkfish | Stargazer:

Pearly white fish with firm texture, suited to most methods of cooking. Has characteristics similar to crayfish. Stuff with lemon, orange slices, wrap in panchetta and bake.

monkfish or stargazer fillets, monk filletsMonkfish is sold fresh, frozen, or smoked and available as whole tails, with skin removed, or fillets. The skin and the head are usually removed before the fish is sold. Monkfish should smell like the ocean, without having a fishy odour. Fresh whole-tail monkfish or fillets should appear moist and have a lustrous sheen but no slime. The flesh should be dense, without tears or gaps. Keep monkfish cool on the trip from the market to your house. Never let it stay unrefrigerated for long.

To store monkfish, remove packaging, rinse under cold water, and pat dry with paper towels. Fish deteriorates when it sits in its own juices, so place it on a cake rack in a shallow pan filled with crushed ice. Cover with cling wrap or foil and set in the coldest part of the refrigerator. Monkfish will store well this way for up to two days.

Monkfish, stargazer, w/r fishWhen well-wrapped, monkfish can be frozen for up to two months in a refrigerator freezer and for three to four months in a deep-freeze. Use lined freezer paper and wrap fish tightly from head to tail with at least two layers of paper. To thaw slowly, unwrap, place fish in pan, cover, and leave for 24 hours in the refrigerator.

To thaw more quickly, place the whole fish (wrapped in a watertight bag) in a sink with cool running water, allowing about 30 minutes per 500g. For fastest thawing, use the defrost cycle of your microwave, allowing 2 to 5 minutes per 500g, with equal standing time in between zaps (as one minute defrost to one minute resting).

The secret to successful monkfish cookery is to not overcook. Whichever of the following cooking methods you choose, your monkfish will be cooked when its flesh becomes opaque but is still moist on the inside. When preparing monkfish, peel off the black skin with a paring knife, then pull off the thin silver membrane. To fillet, lay the tail on a board and slide a knife along next to the backbone.

Place monkfish in a greased baking dish, or wrap in oiled foil and place on a baking sheet. Brush with melted butter or oil and season with salt and pepper, or cover with sauce made of liquid, herbs, spices, and vegetables. Bake in a preheated 230C oven.

Char Grilling/BBQ
Cut monkfish into cubes and place them directly on a greased barbecue grill, about 10 to 15cm above prepared coals or fire. Baste with butter, oil, or marinade and close hood of the barbecue grill. Cook until fish is opaque and moist on the inside, 6 to 8 minutes.

Place seasoned monkfish on well-greased griller tray and brush with butter or oil. Grill under preheated element about 10 to 12cm from heat, until fish is opaque and moist on the inside.

Coat monkfish with seasoned flour or crumbs and fry in a small amount of hot butter or oil, turning once halfway through cooking time.

Pour oil into a wok or deep fryer; it should be at least 3.8cm deep, and the cooker should be less than half full of oil. Heat oil to 190C, using a thermometer to monitor temperature. Cut monkfish into similar-sized cubes. Dip in batter, drain, and then slip pieces into hot oil. Cook until brown, about 2 to 3 minutes.

Bring poaching liquid, consisting of water, broth, herbs, and spices, to a simmer. Slip in monkfish, then cover pan and keep liquid at a simmer for about 8 minutes per 2.5cm of thickness.

Place monkfish on a greased perforated rack over 2.5 to 5cm of rapidly boiling water. Cover with a tight-fitting lid and keep water at a constant boil. Steam 5 to 10 minutes for fillets 2.5-cm thick or less; 15 to 20 minutes for 5-cm thick fillets.


The only edible part of the monkfish is its tail, which consists of lean, flavourful white flesh that is often compared to lobster meat. Other than its thick backbone, which is very easy to remove, the monkfish contains no bones. Monkfish is often prepared like lobster and can be substituted for lobster in most recipes. It is best when served with a sauce, because it has to be cooked a little longer than most fish and the flesh tends to dry out. It is also excellent when served cold with vinaigrette. Its head can be used to flavour soups.

Microwave Cooking Times for Fish
- Fish fillets 5 minutes per 500g on medium-high, +50 seconds more for thicker fillets, or until flesh flakes
- Whole fish - Large 6 minutes/750g on medium
- Whole fish Small 3-4 minutes on medium


See Also:
Stargazer (Uranoscopidae) or Monkfish Photographs and Information

Catching and Fishing for Stargazer or Monkfish

Cooking Stargazer | Recipes for Monkfish

Commercial Fishery Stargazer (Uranoscopidae) | Monkfish Buyers, Sellers



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