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Seafood Main Course
Monkfish fillet with Samphire image

Monkfish fillet with Samphire

The name "Monkfish" is really not appropriate for this horrific looking fish. In other languages this fish is called "Sea Devil" and that is much more appropriate, as the picture below illustrates.

This big-headed fish is very strong. As a result, the structure of the meat is very firm.  

Monkfish is stronger in taste than cod, for instance. This means that you will have to pick additional stronger flavors for vegetable and starch (if any).

I would suggest that you buy monkfish fillets, rather than trying to fillet this unattractive creature yourself. Should you want to try anyway, check the video below.


Assume about 150 grams of filleted fish per diner. 

For the sauce, I used fish stock with some white wine, dill, some mustard, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Reduce to a third of the volume. Add a good knob of butter and set aside. If using fish stock cubes, start out with a third of the prescribed volume of water so you hardly have to reduce at all!

I chose samphire as the accompanying vegetable. Samphire grows in salt water, in that tidal zone that falls dry twice a day. It has a nice bite (don't overcook) and is salty by nature. I fried the samphire for no more than two minutes in some olive oil and a few slices of garlic. Make sure to taste regularly to prevent overcooking; you really want to keep that crunch. 

Season the monkfish fillets with pepper and salt. Melt butter in a skillet. When the butter start getting brown, add the fillets, frying them for a few minutes on each side. You will notice that the meat will shrivel up somewhat.

Serve the monkfish fillet and samphire with some rice or potatoes. Pour some of the sauce over the fish. And, of course, with a good glass of white wine. As the flavors are stronger than in the average fish dish, we will need to also pick a rich white wine (oaked chardonnay comes to mind) or a lighter red wine (Pinot Noir or a Beaujolais Primeur).