How to Cook Monkfish

Two Methods:Pan Roasting Monk fishGrilling Monk fish

Monkfish are ugly, weird-looking fish. However, when they are cooked properly, they produce a sweet, mild meat suitable for even the most discerning critic. The fish is among the leanest and has around 76 calories per 3-oz. serving, which makes it an ideal choice for a healthy meal. Learning how to cook monkfish in a variety of ways is easy, and once mastered, it may become a regular in your mealtime lineup.


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    Purchase the monkfish tails at your local seafood supplier or grocery store. Look for thinner strips, since they are easier to cook, and check for freshness. The meat should be off-white or pale gray and have a blue membrane. Avoid tails that have a strong odor, discolored edges, or brownish blood at the cut ends, as these are indicators that the meat is not fresh.
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    Wash the fresh tails in cold water thoroughly before preparing.
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    Use a kitchen knife to remove the blue membrane. Be sure you cut it completely off, as it is inedible.
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    Sprinkle salt over the surface of the meat approximately 1 hour before cooking. Monk fish have a high-moisture content, and the meat will shrink or shrivel unless you draw out the water with salt first. Pat the tail meat dry to remove excess water and remaining salt before cooking.
    • Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit (218 degrees Celsius).
    • Brush olive oil onto the surface of the meat, and season it with salt and pepper.
    • Spray a baking dish with non-stick oil, and put the tails inside.
    • Place the dish in the oven, and bake the fish for approximately 15 minutes, or until the meat turns white. The fish is done when the meat is still firm to the touch.

Method 1
Pan Roasting Monk fish

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    Directions for pan roasting.
    • Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit (218 degrees Celsius).
    • Preheat an oven-proof pan until it is hot.
    • Place the seasoned monk fish in your pan, and allow it to sear for approximately 2 minutes. Flip the tail over, and allow the uncooked side to sear for another 2 minutes.
    • Place the tails, still in the oven-proof pan, inside your heated oven, and allow them to bake for approximately 6 to 8 minutes or until done.

Method 2
Grilling Monk fish

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    Directions for grilling.
    • Preheat your grill to a medium temperature.
    • Brush olive oil onto the surface of the meat, and season it with salt and pepper.
    • Place the fish on the grill surface, and allow it to cook for approximately 5 to 6 minutes. Use a meat spatula to flip the tails, and allow the other side to cook another 5 to 6 minutes.


  • For all cooking styles, you can accurately gauge when your fish is properly cooked by using a meat thermometer. Insert the wand of your thermometer directly into the meat until the tip reaches the innermost part of the filet. The monk fish is done when it reaches 145 degrees Fahrenheit (63 degrees Celsius).
  • If you are pan roasting your monk fish and find that it sticks to the pan while searing, add non-stick cooking spray just before placing in the fish. Do this for both sides of the fish.

Things You'll Need

  • Non-stick cooking spray
  • Water
  • Kitchen knife
  • Baking dish (optional)
  • Olive oil
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Oven (for baking or pan roasting)
  • Oven-proof pan (optional)
  • Meat spatula
  • Grill (if grilling)
  • Meat thermometer (optional)
  • Serving sauces (optional)

Article Info

Categories: Fish and Seafood