Pleased to see my friends from New Hampshire Community Seafood last Saturday at the Farmers’ Market at Wentworth Greenhouses in Rollinsford. They actually had a broad selection of fresh, local fish and I opted for two pounds of monkfish. Not exactly sure what I was going to do but I had been wanting monkfish for some time and two pounds would give me two opportunities.

Monkfish (Lophius piscatorius) photograph by Alexander Mayrhofer

Monkfish (Lophius piscatorius) photograph by Alexander Mayrhofer

I can’t imagine what the first person to eat one of these monsters from the ocean was thinking. Once filleted however, you have a very nice solid piece of fish that is often referred to as ‘poor man’s lobster’.

For our first meal I decided to use a Mark Bittman recipe that I found online, I omitted the paprika and simply rolled the fish in salt and pepper then again in a nice Dijon mustard. After preheating the oven to 475° F, I heated a little olive oil in a fry pan, added the fish and them put in the oven for about 10 minutes. It was good, monkfish being somewhat mild takes to coatings and sauces nicely, but it just didn’t resonate with me and wasn’t a recipe that I would repeat.

For the next meal I again decided that oven roasting would be best so I preheated the oven to 450° F. I poured a pint of home-made tomato sauce in a fry pan and added 1 to 1 1/2 teaspoons of half-sharp paprika along with a little salt and let it simmer for a short time to reduce the sauce to a more paste like consistency. I then rolled the monkfish in salt and pepper and placed them in the sauce and put in the oven for 8 to 10 minutes. After plating the fillets I spooned additional sauce over the top. This was an excellent choice for monkfish even if I am a little biased by the home-made tomato sauce and local caught fish. The half-sharp paprika gave it just the kick it needed and I was glad that I used it instead of the cayenne that I originally had selected. The monkfish paired well with the subtle heat and acidic sauce which was complemented nicely by a bottle of 2011 Picpoul de Pinet.

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