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POOR MAN"S LOBSTER?? OMG! WHAT DID I DO WRONG? MONKFISH DISASTER!

k
kernel Mar 2, 2010 06:17 AM

Now I know monkfish will never win a beauty contest when seen in its natural habitat, but the beautiful fillets nicely priced seemed worth a try. and reasearch said it was a popular fish in Europe-poor man's lobster. We broiled it and basted it with butter/garlic and were sure not to overcook. It had no taste and an offesive rubbery texture. Anyone know what we did wrong or was it the purchase itself that was the error?

  1. kaysyrahsyrah Mar 20, 2010 05:34 PM

    Like several other respondents, I took home a few choice filets in search of poor man's lobster. No bueno. I'd rather serve catfish in lobster stock based sauce...which is quite good!

    1. Bada Bing Mar 2, 2010 01:29 PM

      I've heard "poor man's lobster" before but never took it seriously enough to try actually to make it taste/feel that way. It's overcooked if it has the firm texture of lobster, plain and simple.

      For me, Monkfish works best as chunks in sauces, like Provencale or Mediterranean dishes. It's advantage over some other fishes is that it doesn't fall apart very readily. Like cod, but even more so.

      2 Replies
      1. re: Bada Bing
        EricMM Mar 2, 2010 01:52 PM

        I made the mistake of grilling monkfish once...it came out rubbery and awful. I agree, the best way to do monkfish is sliced or chunked, in a stew or sauce.

        1. re: EricMM
          Bada Bing Mar 20, 2010 05:20 PM

          Actually, I just adapted a recipe in Mark Bittman's How to Cook Everything (for herbed roasted monkfish "steaks"). It was delicious and almost, but not totally, dry rather than wet. The approach is to dredge filets about one inch think in seasoned flour, pan fry to brown all over, and then pour a bit of stock (chicken, in my case) in the pan and finish it all in the oven at 425 or so. The fluid reduces a bit and makes a good sauce. My twist was to season the flour with fennel pollen and some more-or-less Indian spices rather than the herbs that Bittman specifies.

      2. jmckee Mar 2, 2010 09:52 AM

        I quick-grilled some monkfish once, stopping just short of "done", rolling them in a little soy sauce cut with lemon juice and then in sesame seeds, before finishing them over the hot coals. Very good indeed.

        1. ChefJune Mar 2, 2010 09:48 AM

          It's been decades since I've heard monkfish referred to as "Poor Man's Lobster." I still recall trying to cook it to be lobster-like with disappointing results.

          My favorite ways to handle it are: 1) bard it with garlic and anchovies and roast it like a leg of lamb, and 2) Wrap the tails with bacon slices and pan roast. ;)

          1. a
            appycamper Mar 2, 2010 08:12 AM

            i understand monkfish needs to be rested like beef before serving.

            3 Replies
            1. re: appycamper
              linguafood Mar 2, 2010 09:40 AM

              That won't save anything if you've already overcooked the fish.

              1. re: appycamper
                C. Hamster Mar 2, 2010 09:48 AM

                A Top Chef fan? :-)

                1. re: C. Hamster
                  a
                  appycamper Mar 2, 2010 11:32 AM

                  season 5, episode 11? eric ripert? maybe...

              2. linguafood Mar 2, 2010 07:07 AM

                I've only poached and pan-fried monkfish filets.... I thought they were pretty awesome: flavorful, and lobster-like in texture. Maybe you overcooked them?

                2 Replies
                1. re: linguafood
                  greygarious Mar 2, 2010 07:30 AM

                  If the monkfish was rubbery, it was overcooked. The PML moniker applies to texture rather than taste. The flavor is quite mild.

                  1. re: greygarious
                    C. Hamster Mar 2, 2010 08:09 AM

                    I agree that rubbery fish by definition has been overcooked.

                2. epabella Mar 2, 2010 06:53 AM

                  POOR MAN'S LOBSTER is doofus network hogwash - monkfish has a character all it's own and is sadly being fished to extinction. give those tails alot of respect and cook them the same way you would fillet mignon.

                  also, don't forget the cheeks! those are prized even more than the tail.

                  1. monku Mar 2, 2010 06:43 AM

                    That's Monkfish for you.
                    I've used it in fish chowders or cioppino.

                    1. thew Mar 2, 2010 06:23 AM

                      its usually boiled or braised if you're looking for lobsteryness

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