Tender chunks of tasty monkfish skewered between cherry tomatoes and button mushrooms. Make small monkfish kebabs and serve as a Christmas appetiser; make them larger, serve with vegetables and a cheesy potato bake, and you have a quick and easy supper with a difference.
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Poor man's lobster
Did you know that a monkfish is also referred to as a poor man's lobster? Although when you look at the price you might wonder where this name came from. However, it does have the same texture as lobster and does not flake like a normal fish. It has a mild and sweet flavour which really comes to the fore when paired with the juicy cherry tomatoes and delicate button mushrooms.
I've been making these monkfish kebabs for years, and they always go down a treat. In fact, I made them as a starter one Christmas when I had 30 people for a sit-down Christmas dinner. They made such a nice change from the run-of-the-mill prawn cocktail starter that is my usual standby appetiser when catering for lots of people.
Of course, you can make larger monkfish kebabs and have them as a complete meal too. I was lucky enough to find monkfish tails on special at my local supermarket the other day. Once I got them home, I skewered chunks of monkfish between cherry tomatoes and mushrooms and popped them in the oven for a few minutes. I served them with dauphinoise potatoes, wilted baby spinach and steamed broccoli. Yummy! I made 6 skewers and thought there would be some leftovers, but between us, Graham and I polished off the lot.
To look at a monkfish, you wouldn't say it was even edible, never mind mouthwateringly delicious. A monkfish is an ugly fish, with a huge head and a large slash of a mouth, lined with two rows of sharp teeth. Like lobsters, monkfish live on the seabed. Their fins have evolved to perform the functions of feet, which makes them look as though they are walking on the seabed. Other names for monkfish include angler fish, fishing frogs, frog-fish, and even sea-devil. If you are interested, you can click on this link to see what a monkfish looks like.
What you will need
**You can find the complete list of ingredients and full instructions for making these monkfish skewers on the printable recipe card at the end of this post**
This recipe will serve 2 people. Prep time is about 15 minutes and cooking time is 15 minutes.**
Monkfish shrinks quite a lot on cooking, so you will need quite a lot. For 6 skewers you will need about 1 pound (450g) of monkfish tails that have been deveined and removed from the central bone.
You will also need 12 cherry tomatoes, 12 button mushrooms, olive oil and lemon pepper (or your favourite fish spice).
To make the kebabs you will also need 6 wooden (bamboo) skewers that have been soaked in water for about 20 minutes. This will prevent the skewers from burning in the oven.
How to make them
- Rinse the monkfish tails in cold water and pat dry with a kitchen paper towel.
- Cut into approximately 1-and-a-half-inch cubes and season with lemon pepper or your favourite blend of fish spice. 1 pound of fish should yield about 30 pieces.
- Thread 5 chunks of fish onto the soaked wooden skewers, alternating each piece of fish with either a cherry tomato or a button mushroom.
- If you are making these kebabs to serve as an appetiser, use 3 pieces of fish, one cherry tomato and one button mushroom per skewer.
- Drizzle 2 tablespoons of olive oil on a baking sheet and arrange the skewers in the olive oil. Turn the skewers over so that they are coated in olive oil on all sides.
- Cover the baking sheet with a layer of aluminium foil and bake in a hot oven (200C/400F) for 10 minutes.
- Remove the aluminium foil, turn the skewers over and return to the oven for 5 minutes until the fish is cooked and the tomatoes and mushrooms are softened.
- Serve immediately with dauphinoise potatoes (or this potato bake), wilted spinach and steamed broccoli. If you prefer, you can also add a slice of lemon to the plate, to squeeze over the cooked kebabs.
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Your questions answered
To freeze raw monkfish, wrap it in a layer of plastic wrap and then seal it inside a Ziploc freezer bag. It can be stored in the freezer for up to 6 months.
Do not re-freeze monkfish once it has been thawed.
Unfortunately, because of the tomatoes, the assembled kebabs cannot be frozen. They should be cooked and eaten on the same day.
You can prepare and assemble the skewers and store them, covered, in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. When you are ready to eat them, cook them according to the recipe instructions.
You can make these kebabs with any firm-fleshed fish. Cod and haddock would work well, as would hake. For my South African readers, kingklip would be a good substitution.
The greater part of a monkfish is made up of the head, which is normally discarded, although the part of meat just below the eye, called the cheek, can be eaten.
In general, however, the only part of the monkfish sold commercially is the tail.
Because the rib cage is discarded with the head, there are no pin-bones to worry about. There is just the large spinal column that runs through the tail, and it can be easily removed by cutting down each side.
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Other fish recipes
If you enjoyed these monkfish kebabs, perhaps you would like to try some of my other fish recipes:
- Fish Milanese with a buttery garlic and parsley sauce
- Spicy fish and rice bake in tomato sauce
- Homemade fish cakes with a crispy coating
- Seafood stuffed pasta shells in a creamy cheesy sauce
- Mediterranean oven-baked cod
- Monkfish wrapped in Serano han with lobster risotto
Monkfish kebabs with cherry tomatoes
(Click the stars to rate this recipe)
- 1 pound skinless, filleted, monkfish tails
- 12 cherry tomatoes
- 12 button mushrooms
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon lemon pepper or other fish spice
- Soak the wooden skewers in water for approximately 20 minutes. This will prevent the skewers from burning in the oven.
- Pre-heat oven to 200°C/400°F
- Rinse the monkfish tails under cold water and pat dry on paper kitchen towel.
- Cut the tails into approximately 1½" pieces. This should make approximately 30 pieces.
- Thread 5 pieces of monkfish tail onto a skewer, alternating with 2 cherry tomatoes and 2 button mushrooms.
- Drizzle 2 tablespoons of olive oil onto a baking tray then arrange the skewers on the tray. Roll the skewers in the olive oil as you arrange them so that they are lightly coated with the oil on all sides.
- Cover the baking tray with aluminium foil then place in the hot oven and bake for 8 minutes.
- Remove the tray from the oven, discard the aluminium foil, turn the kebabs over and return to the oven for approximately 5 minutes until the tomatoes and onions are softened and the fish is cooked.
- Remove from the oven and serve immediately with vegetables and potatoes, and a wedge of lemon (optional).
I am not a nutritionist. The nutrition information has been calculated using an on-line calculator, and is intended for information and guidance purposes only. If the nutrition information is important to you, you should consider calculating it yourself, using your preferred tool.
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