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Poor Man's Lobster? OMG! What Did I Do Wrong? Monkfish Disaster!

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?

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

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

      1. 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. 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

            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

              I agree that rubbery fish by definition has been overcooked.

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

            3 Replies
            1. re: appycamper

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

                1. re: C. Hamster

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

              1. 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. 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. 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

                      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

                        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. 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. I have always found poaching monkfish in a flavorful liquid successful, and then, serving with drawn butter and lemon. I have also used it, with much success, in fish soups and stews.

                        1. Monkfish sometimes comes with a membrane worth removing, btw.