I used to think fish was, like, fancy or hard to make. Then I actually made it and was, like, “Oh, I could do this all the time.” Usually, I’ll just bake a fillet of whatever-the-heck in the oven for 10-15 minutes at 400 in whatever sauce/marinade sounds good to me. One thing I don’t do as often is pan-sear fish (unless it’s scallops–one of my comfort foods), but it’s also super-easy.

A few weeks ago, while looking through my freezer, I found a vacuum-sealed monkfish fillet I’d picked up at Whole Foods a while ago out of curiosity. Monkfish is a white fish that’s a great source of lean protein—one 3-ounce serving provides 16 grams and only about 85 calories and 2 grams fat. Also called “sea-devils” or “frog-fish,” these northern European fish are not the most attractive, but they’re delicious, as I was about to find out. Since I was procrastinating on a really tedious project, I decided to spend a little extra time brainstorming a recipe.

End result: Why the hell had I waited so long to make this? This was delicious and so easy it was almost idiot-proof.

pan-seared monkfish

Now I know why they call monkfish “the poor man’s lobster.” The flavor and texture bring to mind a slightly sweet, buttery-tasting, meaty lobster tail, but for a fraction of the cost and no awkward moral dilemma while eating an animal out of its exoskeleton. I mean, there’s always still that “oh, I’m eating an animal” thing going on, but it’s a little less in your face without the shell. Also, more flesh to chew on, less exo to clean up.

Wow, I am really selling this… anyway. Here’s the recipe. I served this with some cauliflower rice, steamed kale, roasted tomato, and mushrooms, but feel free to add whatever veggies you like. It would also be wonderful with a big salad.

Seared Monkfish with White Wine Sauce

Ingredients For Fish:

  • 1 Monkfish fillet, skin removed
  • Olive oil for skillet
  • Sea salt
  • Juice of half a lemon

For Sauce:

  • 1 teaspoon olive oil (if needed)
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon capers
  • ¼ cup dry white wine

Directions:

  1. Rinse fish and pat dry. Season with sea salt.
  2. Heat oil in a large skillet. Place fish in skillet and cook until white and no longer opaque. This should take 8-10 minutes. Turn fish a few times to get an even sear.
  3. Remove fish from pan and set aside. Allow pan to cool to medium or low. Scrape up browned pieces. Add olive oil if needed and garlic. Sauté garlic until fragrant, about 1 minute. Use white wine to deglaze pan and add capers.
  4. Allow white wine mixture to reduce. Pour over fish.

Serve immediately, with your favorite vegetables.

What food did you think was hard to make but turned out to be easy? 

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