Monkfish is quite possibly the most underrated affordable fish. The texture is similar to lobster and the flavor is delicate. This Thai hot sauce is an amazing blend of hot, sour, and salty tastes. In a Thai kitchen, fish sauce would be added to provide saltiness and depth; but in order to enhance and not overpower the delicate flavor of monkfish, this recipe uses salted water instead.
Trust me, this thai chili sauce is an eyebrow raiser–but the heat from the peppers is balanced by the garlic and lime juice. Since this terrific sauce is too good to reserve for just this dish, try it with crispy fried tofu, lobster, raw oysters, and shrimp.
While I conceived of this dish as an appetizer, it could easily make for a satisfying main course. If you can find the monkfish already cleaned, it will save a lot of time and work. From beginning to end, this dish can be prepared in 30 minutes or less.
Anytime I create an appetizer, I try to imagine it being served to a large group of people. Gluten-free and vegan recipes are crowd pleasers in my circles; while this recipe is gluten-free, I’d probably fry up some firm tofu dredged in potato starch for the people who don’t eat meat. That way, everyone gets to try the sauce and nobody is left out. Serve it cold on top of ice with toothpicks/skewers or hot.
Poached Monkfish with Thai Hot Sauce
Yield: 10 servings (as appetizer), 4 servings (as main course)
- 1/4 cup water
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 9 garlic cloves, chopped
- 9 long red hot chiles, stemmed and thinly sliced (for a milder sauce, remove the seeds and membranes)
- 3 limes, juiced, or to taste
- 2 kaffir lime leaves (optional)
- 3 pounds monkfish tail, skin and sinews removed
- 1 oz cilantro, for garnish
- In a small saucepan, bring the water to a boil and stir in the salt until dissolved. Remove from heat. In a blender or mortar and pestle, macerate the garlic and chiles to form a paste. Add the lime juice to taste then work in the salted water. Serve as a dipping sauce for the monkfish.
- Fill a large pot about halfway with water. Add the kaffir lime leaves (optional), then bring to a simmer. Cut the monkfish into equal sized chunks (they will shrink a bit when cooked) then place directly into the water. Poach for about 6 minutes or longer (depending on the thickness and size of each cut), until the meat is creamy white and cooked all the way through. Serve alongside the Thai hot sauce and garnish with cilantro.