Pan seared Monkfish

Did you know?
Monkfish is also called "poor man's lobster" because of its similar texture and taste

This is a really underrated fish in my opinion and one we don’t see that often here in the Midwest. It has a bright white, solid flesh not unlike lobster. It has a very light flavor and is fairly lean. It’s easy to cook and when paired with the right sauces and herbs, you’ll understand why they call it the “poor man’s lobster”. At around $10/lb it sure is!

This dish has a Mediterranean flair, with bright, acidic notes and of course, olive oil as a primary counterpart. Combined with the light, flowery saffron rice it’s a dish that will satisfy while staying light on the palate. And you can easily knock this dinner for two out in under 45 minutes.

Sauteed Monkfish, Sauce Vierge, Saffron rice

with a Mediterranean flair
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Mediterranean
Keyword: Fish, Seafood
Servings: 1


  • 16 oz Monkfish filet
  • salt & pepper
  • smoked paprika
  • 3 TBSP salted butter
  • 1 sprig tarragon
  • 1 spring thyme
  • 1 clove garlic - crushed

Sauce Vierge

  • 1 large red tomato - heirloom, fresh
  • 1 small yellow tomato
  • 1 small shallot
  • 1 TBSP chives
  • 2 TBSP parsley
  • 2 TBSP lemon juice (1) - fresh squeeze
  • 1 tsp fish sauce - or Worchestershire
  • salt & pepper - to taste
  • 1/4 cup olive oil - best quality, extra virgin


  • 1 cup Basmati rice - rinsed well
  • 1.5 cups chicken stock
  • pinch saffron threads
  • pinch Kosher salt

Lemon Vinaigrette

  • 1/2 cup EVO - quality!
  • 3-4 TBSP Lemon juice - fresh squeezed, 1 lemon
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp Honey
  • salt & pepper - to taste



    Sauce Vierge

    • Core tomatoes and finely dice. Finely dice shallot and herbs. Add to small bowl with lemon juice and fish sauce. Season. Mix well but gently.
    • Slowly add oil, mixing as you go. May use less than 1/4C. Get to a consistency and taste you like. Set aside and refrigerate.


    • In medium pot, over medium heat, add chicken stock and saffron, bring to boil. Add rice, salt and return to boil. Lower heat to lowest setting, cover and cook 12 minutes.
    • Remove from heat, give a quick mix up, recover and let sit 5 minutes.
    • Uncover, fluff rice and let steam dissipate


    • Season monkfish on all sides. Roll it around in the seasoning.
    • Medium non-stick pan on medium heat. Add light layer of EVO.
    • Sear monkfish on all four sides (if filet is roundish, as was mine), 1-2 min each until you have nice color. Add butter and herbs to pan and baste, turning sides after 1 minute each. There is a wide range of acceptable temps for this type of fish from 110F-140F. I like it right in the middle, about 125F so you might want to use an instant read temp for this one. Remove at 4-5 degrees below desired temp and rest.


    • Combine ingredients for vinaigrette into small mason jar with tight fitting lid. Shake vigorously. Drizzle into dry greens, lightly toss to combine.
    • Garnish fish with sliced chives
    Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

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