How to Bake Monkfish

Updated April 17, 2017

Monkfish is known by other names like goosefish or poor man's lobster. It has a thick, white flesh that, unlike other fish that falls apart when cooked, stays intact. It can be baked, broiled, poached, steamed, pan seared, grilled, pan fried or deep fried. It holds up well under most cooking applications. Monkfish is also a prime fish to marinate because the flesh remains firm and does not crumble. Serve baked or broiled monkfish with a sauce to enhance flavour and reduce dryness. Television chef Jamie Oliver suggests a black olive sauce made with red chilli, fresh herbs, black olives, celery, garlic, lemon, olive oil, black pepper and balsamic vinegar spooned over baked monkfish.

Go to the fish market and purchase enough fresh monkfish to feed your family, 0.113kg. to 0.227kg. per person. Smell the fish before you buy it. It should not have a fishy odour.

Place the fish skin side up on a cutting board. Remove the black skin and underlying silver membrane by peeling them off with a paring knife. Cut into serving-size pieces.

Place monkfish in a pan and salt it on both sides. Sprinkle 1/4 tsp salt on each side of every piece of fish. Let it sit for one hour, keeping it cool in the refrigerator until use. Salting reduces moisture content.

Preheat the oven to 218 degrees Celsius minutes before removing your monkfish from refrigeration.

Pat the fish dry with clean paper towels to remove excess moisture and salt.

Rub the fish with olive oil or use a marinade for 30 minutes before placing the fish in an ovenproof frying pan on the hob.

Sear the fish on medium heat for two minutes on each side. Turn off the heat. Add black pepper to taste and a squeeze of fresh lemon or add sauce.

Place the pan into the oven. Bake for six to eight minutes or longer, if the fish is very thick. Test to make sure the fish is done. Fish should flake at the touch of a fork. Remove from the oven and serve immediately.


The only part of a monkfish sold to consumers is the tail. Monkfish can be substituted in recipes calling for lobster. Fresh monkfish can be stored up to two months in the freezer. Monkfish can also be served cold in a salad. Travel to the store with a thermal bag and ice pack to keep fish cold en route to home.


Eating fish kept unrefrigerated fish will cause illness.

Things You'll Need

  • Fresh lemon
  • Salt and pepper
  • Olive oil
  • Oven-proof skillet
  • Paring knife
  • Cutting board
  • Paper towels
  • Marinade or sauce (optional)
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About the Author

Doreen Fiorillo has been writing feature and content articles online and in print since 2002. She has been published in Arizona Boating and Watercraft, as well as the "Las Vegas Bugle." Fiorillo is a former mental-health therapist who holds a Master of Arts in psychology from Norwich University.