Sautéed Monkfish Medallions
Monkfish is a type of angler fish, one that rests partially buried on the sea floor and lures in smaller fish as prey. It used to be considered trash fish, being discarded by fishermen. As I understand it, Julia Child was instrumental in introducing the fish, the only edible part of which is the tail. The flesh is sweet and quite firm. The flavor is often compared to lobster. It does have a mild shellfish flavor because shellfish are a large part of the monkfish's diet. This is a quick and easy preparation, but monkfish lends itself to many different cooking methods. See the notes below for current sustainability issues and alternate choices.
- 1-1/2 pounds monkfish fillets, skin and membrane removed (see notes above)
- 1 cup flour, seasoned with salt and pepper
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 tablespoon butter
- Lemon wedges
- 1 cup dry white wine or vermouth (optional)
Cut monkfish crosswise into slices about 2-inches thick. Heat the oil and butter in a skillet large enough to hold the fish medallions in one layer over medium-high heat. Dredge the fish in the flour, coating all sides and shaking off excess. Place in the hot skillet and cook on one side until lightly browned, about 3 minutes. Flip and cook the other side another 3 minutes. Serve immediately with lemon wedges or, if desired, remove to plate and tent with foil while making sauce. Add the wine to the skillet and turn on high. Boil and reduce wine by about half, scraping up any browned bits in the bottom of the pan. Drizzle the wine-butter sauce over individual servings of the fish.
Notes: Unfortunately, monkfish are not abundantly available. When I first created this recipe, the fish markets in my area were starting to get them in on a regular basis. Since then, monkfish have been placed on the list of fish to avoid because the method by which they are caught endangers other sea life. That status might change in the future. Catfish is a good substitute. The flavor and texture of the fish will be a little different, but the resulting dish will still be delicious.