Monkfish: Better Known for Flavor than Appearance

Getting to Know Monkfish

The monkfish is indeed a strange-looking fish, terrifying at first, because it is not a really well-known seafood. Its upper body range from brown to blackish in color, though its underbelly is whitish. The ghoulish appearance beguiles its taste. In particular, the meat of its tail is mildly sweet and has a texture similar to scallop or lobster.

The monkfish inhabit the bottom of the oceans, such as the Atlantic and Indian oceans. The species caught on the North American side of the Atlantic is usually the Lophius americanus. The body is rounded, head is large, broad, flat, and depressed. The mouth is wide and extends all around the anterior circumference of the head, the jaws armed with bands of long, pointed teeth inclined inwards; the lower jaw, however, extends outwards. The fish is able to ‘walk’ on the ocean floor with its pectoral fins, conceal itself in the sand or among seaweed as its body color can match the surroundings.

Voracious feeders, monkfish eat anything available – shellfish, fish, other monkfish, even seabirds and diving ducks. They are a prize-catch for anglers, growing to as big as 3 to 5 feet in length, and surviving 7 to 13 years. The fishing method most commonly used to commercially catch monkfish is beam trawling, where a net is dragged slow-speed along the seafloor to ensnare hiding monkfish. It has been described as damaging to seafloor habitats.

The fish is versatile, however, only the monkfish tail is edible, sold whole or filleted. It’s commonly used in French cuisine, its liver is a delicacy in Japan. It has only recently become popular in America. The flesh is bright white, lean and mild-tasting and can be prepared using almost any cooking method. Overcooking, though, can dry out its flavor. Chefs love the monkfish; it can be grilled on skewers and kebabs without falling apart, lightly poached in a flavorful broth or roasted with vegetables. Though its flavor and taste are unique, it can be substituted with snapper, sea bass, halibut, mahi-mahi or sea scallops.

From the Ocean Floor to Your Plate in Bellevue

Ready to try monkfish? Experience our Braised Monkfish in spicy sauce with bean sprouts, here at Seoul Hot Pot. Now you know it’s not an elegant-looking fish, but taste-wise, it’s like dining on lobster or scallops. You have to try.