Monday, September 16, 2013


Let's talk about ugly.

That, ladies and gentlemen, is a monkfish. It's a moist, dense fish that, if cooked properly, has a similar texture and taste to lobster (thus it's nickname, "poor man's lobster") and is truly delicious. It's also cheaper than halibut at Fairway by nearly half, and, unfortunately, it's difficult to butcher. I foolishly assumed that because the fishmonger at the grocery was being extremely flirtatious, if I played nice instead of telling him to lay off the innuendo I'd get a good filet.

As you can see, it had a whopping great bloodline down the middle. So much for putting up with strange men behind fish counters.

The pistachio crust came out just as I anticipated, though, as did the creamed corn with green beans and tomatoes. All the flavors are, well, generic enough to pair with a variety of fishes or even meat, for those of you who are into that kind of thing.

Pistachio-crusted monkfish over creamed corn
Technique based on this article

1/2 lb monkfish filet, gray membranes removed
Dijon mustard
3 tbsp panko
2/3 cup raw pistachio meats
salt, pepper

2 large or 3 regular ears corn
1 cup chopped green beans
1/2 cup grape or cherry tomatoes
1/3 cup Greek yogurt (more or less to taste; I actually used about 1/4 cup, but I like mine a little less creamy. You can also finish this with butter.)
2 cloves garlic
salt, pepper, paprika


Preheat the oven to 475 F (yes, you read that right), with a cast iron skillet or heavy grill pan in the oven during the preheating. Rinse the monkfish and pat it dry. Liberally oil one side of the filet and set it down on that surface. On the non-oiled surface, rub some mustard and sprinkle with a bit of pepper. In a food processor, pulse the pistachios, panko, and a touch of salt until it resembles coarse crumbs. Gently pat the nut mixture onto the mustardy fish. When the oven is preheated, carefully slip the filet, oil-side down, onto the preheated pan. It should cook in 15-20 minutes, depending on the thickness of your fish; cover the filet with a sheet of aluminum foil if the crust browns prematurely.

For the creamed corn: remove the kernels from the corn and put all but 1/2 cup into a food processor. Using the flat of a butter knife, "milk" the cobs into the food processor. Add 2 cloves garlic and puree. In a saucepan, cook the green beans, tomatoes, corn puree, and reserved kernels just until the green beans are tender; stir in the yogurt at the end. Season with pepper and paprika and a touch of salt.

To serve: slice the filet and lay over a mound of the creamed corn mixture. Finish the whole thing with a few grinds of sea salt and a sprinkle of chopped parsley and chives.

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