Mecca Ibrahim blog: Marvellous monkfish

The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 14th August 2014
The latest in 2014’s monthly blogs on seasonal ingredients and their uses in some of the world’s best kitchens from food blogger and head of social media at Great British Chefs, Mecca Ibrahim. Shaun Hill -Monkfish-with-Ginger Although monkfish isn’t known for being the most attractive of fish, with its huge flat head and large mouth filled with menacing teeth, its flavour is delicious. It’s about the closest fish comes to meat – sweet, slightly buttery and with enormously flavourable flesh. Due to its amazing flavour it’s not inexpensive. But don’t compromise on price. Always buy from a sustainable source – South West seas or Iceland’s net-caught variety is highly recommended. Trawlers damage the seafloor, and damage the natural habitat of this fine fish, along with several other marine species. What to look for when buying Monkfish is usually sold by it cheeks, tails or steaks (fillets).  In Japan the liver is highly prized and known as ‘ankimo’ or the ‘foie gras of the sea’. When buying, you should find that the pinkish Tom Aikens-Bouillabaisse membrane has been stripped away from the fish’s flesh. However, if this hasn’t happened be sure to remove before cooking or it will shrink around the meat. Like all fish, make sure it’s free from a strong unappealing fishy odour. It should also be firm to touch and fillets must be free from discolouration. Something with pearly white flesh is ideal. How to cook monkfish Monkfish can give off a milky-looking fluid when cooked; this is fine if it’s being cooked in liquid but not so great when grilling the fish. Soaking it in brine for an hour then patting it dry before use will help as will salting. Adam Simmonds says “When it’s cooked properly, you cut into it and it’s got the rainbow effect. It’s juicy, meaty, moist - a brilliant fish to eat. Monkfish is a neutrally flavoured fish so it works well with a wide combination of flavours.” To check whether monkfish is cooked, insert a knife into the thickest part of the flesh – if the knife comes out hot to the touch - that will show it’s cooked through. The Monkfish and Parma Ham - Chris Horridge flesh should also feel springy. The dark skin of monkfish should be removed before cooking, as the meat will shrink and become tough if left on during cooking. Because of its meaty texture, monkfish works well cooked in red wine or served with a red wine sauce like Chris Horridge’s Monkfish and red wine jus. He also cooks the monkfish by wrapping it in salty Parma-ham. This not only adds great flavour but helps to keep the fillet in great shape whilst cooking.  How to serve monkfish The sweet, marine lightness of monkfish is a prized flavour and pairs nicely with many other ingredients. Tom Aikens is a big fan of monkfish and uses it in his Fish pie recipe as well as this brilliant Bouillabaisse. Alfred Prasad Monkfish CurryAs with many white fish, tomato work very well when paired with monkfish. Shaun Hill uses a flavourful bed of tomato sauce for the base of his Monkfish recipe with tomato, ginger and garlic. Finally, Alfred Prasad serves monkfish with an aromatic and spicy tomato sauce in his sumptuous Monkfish curry. For more monkfish dishes from some of Britain’s leading chefs, head over to Great British Chefs monkfish recipe collection. You’ll also find a handy article on how to cook monkfish here.         Mecca-Ibrahim   Mecca is Head of Social Media at Great British Chefs. At work she is known for her chocolate desserts and boundless enthusiasm for social media. She has spent the last 10 years in community management and online marketing at some of the biggest and most innovative internet businesses out there (Yahoo, Justgiving, moo.com and Joost). She also hosts an annual food blogging competition called Nom Nom Nom.

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The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 14th August 2014

Mecca Ibrahim blog: Marvellous monkfish