Grilling Poor Man’s Lobster

 

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If you love fresh grilled fish in the summer, but are getting tired of cedar-plank salmon, why not give monkfish a try? If you haven’t tried monkfish, do yourself a favour and pick up a fillet, you’ll be amazed at how wonderful it is.

Monkfish is an anglerfish known as Lophius, a genus that has seven species, each native to its environment. The monkfish you see locally is most likely Lophius americanus and is distributed in Western Atlantic waters from The Grand Banks to Florida. It has a few other colourful nicknames as well, most notably, Sea Devil, Frog Fish, and Poor Man’s Lobster. The monkfish is a bottom-dweller and entices its prey by dangling a long appendage in front of its mouth; the unsuspecting quarry is attracted by the lure and snapped into the monkfish’s gaping maw, an astonishing feature that is fearsomely and perfectly designed; long and flat and lined with rows of inwardly pointing teeth that guarantee no escape.

 

hello and good-bye!

hello and good-bye!

 

Okay the monkfish isn’t going to win any beauty pageants, but it’s not the face we’re interested in, it’s the tail. And when it comes to taste, there’s a reason it’s called poor man’s lobster; possessing a mild, sweet flavour that is reminiscent of said crustacean, its firm, white flesh is a joy to cook with as it can be skewered, poached and baked, and it keeps it shape beautifully, which is always a consideration when grilling fish.  As we are at the peak of grilling season now, we thought our monkfish fillet would make beautiful kebabs and boy, were we right! The first thing you want to do when you get your fish home is to check it to see how much membrane is still on the fish. When cooked, this can become tough, so just run a knife along the membrane to remove it.

 

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Next, cut the cleaned tail into cubes, the tail is pretty thick so you can easily get nicely portioned pieces. Skewer these, brush with a little olive oil and season with salt and pepper.

 

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You can of course jazz up the kebabs with other ingredients too, like cherry tomatoes and chorizo, pictured at the top of the page, or just keep it simple. Grill the kebabs over a medium hot fire until lightly charred, about four minutes; the grill will let you know when to turn the fish; if the fish is sticking to the grill, it is not ready to be turned (just like meat). When the grill releases the fish, turn it and grill the other side about the same length of time.

 

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Since you’re at it, why not grill-up some veggie kebabs and corn, too and cook them simultaneously, it takes about the same length of time. Grilled romaine lettuce is also a nice accompaniment, especially with a little squeeze of lemon and some fresh shaved parmesan. This is such a delicious and easy summer supper, and it comes together in no time with very little clean up. Succulent and sustainable!

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