Monk Fish

What Is Monkfish?

Belonging to the Lophius genus, monkfish is a predatory bottom feeder that lives close to the seafloor, preying on any fish it can fit through its large mouth—including other, smaller monkfish.

The most common species of monkfish found on American plates is Lophius americanus, also known as the American angler. This fish resides in the North Atlantic Ocean, from the Gulf of St. Lawrence to the waters off the coast of North Carolina. Other monkfish species, such as Lophius piscatorius, can be found off the shores of Europe and Asia as well.

Where Do You Buy Monkfish?

Monkfish is sold as deboned and deveined tail fillets in most American markets. However, overseas purveyors, as well as some fishmongers and Asian markets, will sell whole fish and even the head, which contains edible meat in the cheeks and liver—a delicacy in Japan. Quality fillets will appear off-white or pale gray.

What Does Monkfish Taste Like?

Don’t let the modest monkfish’s huge head, freakish face, and rows of razor-sharp teeth put you off.

A fresh monkfish tail fillet has a mildly sweet taste and a firm, dense texture, similar to lobster meat (hence its nickname: “poor man’s lobster”) or scallops.