Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Poor Man's Lobster

It's a shame that the words "steamed fish" conjure such yucky images.  But the fact is, steaming is a great way to prepare fish.  It's fast, easy and your kitchen isn't left smelling of fish.  Last night I experimented with a new monkfish recipe.

First I lined a casserole dish with lemon pesto, cilantro, sliced lemons and tomatoes. (If you don't like cilantro you can skip it.)   

You can see why they call monkfish the "poor man's lobster."  This piece looks a bit like a lobster tail on steroids!  This half pound portion cost $7 at Citarella. A lot cheaper than lobster and thus the moniker.

I covered the monkfish with a sprinkle of cayenne pepper and chopped fresh garlic and chopped fresh ginger root.

I had a jar of fig jam in the fridge (from a gift basket).  I smeared a spoonful of that on along with dollops of sundried tomato tapenade and eggplant tapenade that also came from a jar.  Then I added teryaki sauce.  I was worried this was going to be too much.  But the results were fantastic.

I have a steamer with two levels - I cooked broccolini on the lower level while the mean course steamed away on the upper level.

I tossed in the remainder of the tomato and lemons.  The tomatoes turned out stewed.  They were delicious.  I steamed for about 10 minutes.  You can tell it's done when pleasant odors come wafting from the kitchen - not a fishy smell - it just smelled wonderful.

My steamer's close-up moment

It's so cool to have your entire dinner cook in one pot.  Clean-up takes about a minute!

Only serve the monkfish, tomatoes, lemon and broccolini - discard the lemon basil and cilantro leaves.

Et Viola!  Invest in a good steamer - mine cost $40 - you'll be glad you did.  Go for a metal one, not the bamboo - you'll get more use out of it.


1/2 pound piece of monkfish per person
1/4 cup lemon basil leaves
1/4 cup cilantro leaves (optional)
2 cloves fresh garlic finely chopped
2 teaspoons fresh ginger finely chopped
1 teaspoon fig jam (optional - but try to hunt down a jar, it's worth it)
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
two lemons sliced into rounds
one tomato sliced
one bunch broccolini
1/8 cup teryaki sauce


Line the bottom of a casserole dish with the lemon basil and cilantro.
Place the monkfish on top.
Sprinkle the cayenne pepper on the monkfish.
Rub on the finely chopped garlic and ginger - you want it to stick to the fish.
Smear the fig jam on next - try to spread it evenly over the fish.
Next spread the sundried tomato tapenade and the eggplant tapenade over the fish evenly.
Cover the mixture with additional sprigs of lemon basil and cilantro.
Only cut a few slices of the tomato and leave the rest of the tomato whole. 
Add the teryaki make sure not to disturb the mixture on the filet (pour in on the side).
Place in casserole dish.
Put the left over lemon in the dish - again, only slice what you need - a few slices per filet.
Spread the broccolini over the bottom tier of the steamer.  I tossed a half lemon in with it.
Place the casserole dish in the upper level of the steamer and cover.
Steam for approximately 8 - 10 minutes.  You'll know when it's done because it smells great.
Remove the filet and broccolini and arrange on plate  Discard the lemon basil and cilantro.  Pour some of the great gravy over the dish and enjoy!

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