Seasonal fish of the Month - Monkfish
The Monkfish or Anglerfish, as it should be known, really is a culinary treasure in the deep sea larder of the South West approaches.
Today, it is one of the most expensive fish on the market and virtually every fish restaurant serves it, yet for many years this treasure was un-discovered and believe it or not even as recently as the 1970s Monkfish was used for crab pot bait!
Like so many of the fish landed in Cornwall, the taste and value of the Monkfish was discovered by the French and Spanish who were not so easily perturbed by the ugly appearance of this bottom-swelling predator. Fortunately, all of the monkfish landed in Cornwall is sold ‘head-off', leaving just the prime meat of the tail, which is easy to prepare. Once the skin has been removed the dense white meat can be removed easily as there is only one real bone (the backbone). The flesh is quite firm and so can be easily cubed and used to make the ultimate curry or wrapped in Parma ham!
Unlike some fish - which have pronounced ‘seasons' - monkfish are available all year round and are caught using both fixed nets and with trawls. Consumers should also be re-assured that despite some ‘fish guides' stating that monkfish should be avoided - the monkfish stocks off the Coast of Cornwall are in good shape. How do we know this? - well for the last three years Cornish fishermen have been working closely with Government scientists through a project called the Fisheries Science Partnership (FSP) to build a better understanding of fish stocks. The scientists have sailed on commercial trips to see first-hand the level of catches. Much of this work has focused on assessing the abundance of monkfish and has concluded that the SW monkfish stock is on the increase and is being fished sustainably.
Other fresh fish and shellfish in season
This month you can also enjoy: