It may not be pretty, but it’s pretty tasty: Bacon-wrapped monkfish with mushroomsMarch 2, 2007
Let’s see… Ingredients: Delicious lobster-like fish, thin slices of bacon, mushrooms lovingly sautéed in butter and a light lemony butter sauce to finish.
I think we have a winner, folks.
My husband can’t go wrong wrapping things in bacon and putting them on a bed of mushrooms. In fact, I might eat just about anything prepared that way. (Old shoes, dish towels…)
Don’t believe me? Consider the monkfish, this post’s bacon-wrapped, mushroom-topped offering.
Yes, monkfish tastes very good. It’s firm and not fishy, and its flesh carries a subtle sweetness – I’ve heard it described as a poor man’s lobster. So, yes, eating monkfish was not like eating an old shoe. It married well with the earthy and fragrant mushrooms, it absorbed the maple-saltiness of the bacon, and the slightly lemony butter sauce made the whole thing lip-smackingly good.
So, you folks are saying: What’s the problem? Why are you so brave for eating monkfish?
True, monkfish is a fairly benign looking filet when you confront it in your supermarket. There’s some homely gray fish skin and some vein-y white flesh, but nothing to send you screaming in horror. That is, until you encounter the actual monkfish. Whole. On the Internet. Its giant gaping mouth. Its rows of pointy teeth. Its distended, bag-like stomach. Its nasty little angler antennae. My reaction: “THAT is what I ate?”
Now, this horrified response is coming from a Blue Planet lover (the best freakin’ show on cable TV). I love sea creatures, even the ugly ones. It’s just a little much to realize that I just ate the elephant man of the ocean. (I warn you: Click at your own risk.)
Before the bile rises to your throat, consider: I ate that monkfish. And it was damn good. If you start to lose your nerve, remember – it’s going to be wrapped in bacon, sitting on mushrooms and doused with a lemony butter sauce. How bad can it be? I’ll tell you: Not bad at all, friends. Not bad at all. Now, that old shoe on the other hand…
My wife is not kidding about how ugly these fish are. Honestly, we discussed putting a picture up with the food and decided it was a bad idea. I mean I want you to eat this, not have nightmares. Although, it does make you wonder who the first guy was that said, “Wow, I bet that is delicious.”
Well, that guy was right. I love monkfish. The meat most Americans see is from the tail. But I’m not shocked. These fish are really three things — jaws, stomach and tail. Also, compared with most fish, the meat is odd-looking because it isn’t the common rows of muscles you see on a salmon or tuna. It is a series of what look like 5 long muscles that run down the length of the filet. When you cut into it, it looks more like a bungle of wires than what most people associate with fish.
From a cooking standpoint, I feel it’s one of those easy to cook and hard to destroy pieces of fish. It has a meaty texture more commonly associated with lobster. And it lacks the oil and pungency of fish such as salmon. If you have a person in your house who doesn’t like fish, this is a good starter fish for them.
This recipe really has two separate pieces that you can divorce from one other. The mushrooms and the fish are really delicious on their own. I added the mushrooms because I wanted the dish to have heavy savory flavors. Without them, the monkfish could play well with several other ingredients or sides.
Finally, if you are watching your waistline, feel free to 86 the addition of the lemon thyme butter. I’ve been playing with lemon thyme a great deal of late. There is something so refreshing about it. So when I made this dish the first time, my wife and I agreed that it needed a light sauce to finish it off. I thought of adding lemon thyme to butter to make a quick sauce, reintroducing the traditional lemon-fish flavor combination. But for the more health-conscious who don’t want to pile fat upon bacon-wrapped fish, skip the butter and add a wedge of lemon to finish it off.
Bacon Wrapped Monkfish w/ Mushrooms
Yield: 2 entree servings/4 appetizers
1 monk fish filet (3/4 to 1 lb)
5 strips bacon
1 1/2 cup shitake mushrooms (stems removed and chopped)
1 1/2 cup oyster mushrooms (chopped)
1/2 large onion (diced)
2 strips bacon (chopped)
4 cloves garlic (minced)
5 tbsp. butter
2 tsp. thyme (just the leaves)
2 tsp. marjoram (chopped)
Lemon Thyme Butter:
1 stick butter
2 tbsp. lemon thyme (chopped)
1. In a large pan over medium high heat, add the chopped bacon. Let it cook until it begins to lightly brown. Add the butter to the pan. Once the butter is melted and has stopped frothing, add the onion and garlic. Liberally season with salt. Turn down the heat after about 1 min. to medium. Let cook for about 4 minutes or until the onions begin to be translucent. Add the thyme, marjoram and pepper. Let cook for another minute, then add the mushrooms. Stir often and let cook for 30-35 minutes.
2. Preheat oven to 425F.
3. Beginning with the fat end of the fish, wrap the bacon around the filet. Use toothpicks to hold it in place. I allow the bacon to only slightly overlap on the edges, if at all. I found pushing the toothpick in at an angle gave me best results — and decreased the likelihood the toothpick would break. Once the fish is completely wrapped, cover and refrigerate until ready to cook.
4. In an oven-safe pan over high heat, add the bacon wrapped filet. Cook for about 3 min per side or until they begin to brown. Once the second side has cooked, place the pan in the oven and cook for 10 min per side. Remove from oven and place on a cutting board to let cool for 5 min.
5. While the filet is cooking in the oven, add the stick of butter in a small pot over medium heat. Once the butter has completely melted and stopped frothing, add the lemon thyme and turn down the heat to keep warm. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
6. Once the monk fish has rested, slice into 1 1/2’’ slices. Plate over a bed of the mushrooms. Top with your lemon thyme butter. Serve hot and enjoy!