A unique, firm-textured and meaty white fish, monkfish has an extraordinary appearance, with a flattened head, tapering body and mottled-brown, glossy skin. Once the fish has been filleted and the central bone removed, there are no others.
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Monkfish is available year round. The tail is readily available; cheeks are also sold by some fishmongers. Sold fresh, the tail meat is usually skinned and filleted. In some countries monkfish liver is considered a delicacy.
Monkfish is usually sold with the head removed; the remaining body is called the ‘tail’. The tail is sold in steaks; meat is also harvested from the head – monkfish cheeks are considered a delicacy. The loose dark skin of this fish is easy to strip away, revealing a pink, glassy membrane that needs to be pulled away – if left on it will shrink around the meat during cooking, making it tough. Monkfish flesh is firm and perfect for stir-frying, barbecuing and pan-frying as well as for use in ceviche. Robust flavours, such as chilli, soy, sesame, Parma ham, chorizo and smoked paprika, all complement monkfish.