Simple Flame-Cooked Monkfish Fillets
Monkfish may not be the prettiest sea creature around, but its flavour — often compared to lobster meat — tells a different story. This seabed-trawling anglerfish has a meatier flavour than other white fish, but it manages to be low in fat and full of beneficial minerals, proteins, and vitamins. Much like pan frying on your cooktop, cast iron cooking is a great alternative method for achieving a tender, juicy fillet of monkfish. Cast iron pans are great regulators and hold onto heat for a long time. The key is getting a good preheat (15 minutes in your Ooni pizza oven will suffice) before adding the oil and fish. Once in the pan, the fillets are cooked outside the oven, using residual heat to sear and cook the fillet through. Return the pan to the oven for a final lick of flames, then remove the pan and let the fillets rest before serving.
Ooni ambassador Alberto Zanrosso, half of Spanish catering duo @bearonbike, created this mouthwatering recipe for family and friends as part of a Mediterranean-inspired dinner party. To show off the versatility of his Ooni oven, Alberto cooked a whole range of dishes, from Padrón peppers to cheese fondue to seafood, including prawns and monkfish. After sourcing local, freshly caught fish from Barcelona’s colourful food markets, Alberto created this monkfish dish on his sun-drenched metropolitan rooftop. No matter your setup at home, if you have a mind to throw a dinner party yourself, this simple monkfish dish is one to try: quick, easy to prepare, and full of flavour.
Serves 2 as a main
15 minutes active time, 30 minutes total time
2 large monkfish fillets (600 grams)
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
Flaked sea salt
1 lemon, halved
Freshly ground black pepper
Fresh parsley or coriander, to garnish
Place the monkfish in a bowl with the olive oil and a pinch of salt. Squeeze half a lemon over the top and cover the bowl. Set inside the refrigerator to infuse for an hour.
Fire up your Ooni pizza oven, aiming to reach 500°C on the stone baking board.
Place the cast iron pan in the oven and preheat for 15 minutes.
Remove the pan from the oven and add the fillets. Using tongs and gloves (the hot oil may spit), carefully push the fillets down until they relax. Use the residual heat from the pan to continue cooking the fish outside the oven, continuing to add pressure with tongs as necessary (roughly 3 minutes).
After 3 minutes, the underside of the fish will be a nice golden brown. Discard any excess liquid released by the fish, flip the fillets and return the pan to the oven to cook for another 3 to 5 minutes (depending on the size of the fillets) until cooked through.
The fish should be tender and juicy. To check, insert a sharp knife into the middle of the fillet (the fillet should feel springy). If the knife is hot to the touch, the fish is cooked through.
Rest the fish for 5 minutes before serving. Serve with a squeeze of lemon, fresh parsley, and freshly ground black pepper and serve.