French Fridays with Dorie: Monkfish with Double Carrots


monkfish double carrots

This week’s French Fridays with Dorie recipe, Monkfish with Double Carrots, comes with a warning.  Monkfish is an ugly, ugly fish.  Not even sunglasses can make this guy attractive to me.

monkfish with double carrots

Monkfish pic courtesy of Wikimedia Commons. Spiffy red sunglasses not included with purchase.

A few weeks ago, on a day I was feeling particularly spontaneous I visited Daimajin, one of my favorite sushi places in Guaynabo.  This is the only place where without prior notice, I can sit down and say ‘omakase’.  ‘Omakase’ is the code word that indicates you are up for eating absolutely anything the chef sends your way.  Aiming to please, the waitress and co-owner of the restaurant asked if I wanted to do all cold, hot or sushi plates.  If I was going to do this, I had to do it right.  A little bit of everything, please!  Nothing is too weird for me… or so I thought.

The first dish I received was a beautiful plate of razor thin fluke sashimi, served with a green onion ponzu (citrusy soy sauce) I could eat on anything.  Second course: rock lobster tempura bites which were predictably tasty.

Third course: monkfish liver.

Third course: MONKFISH LIVER!

You wanted adventure, Adriana? Here’s your adventure!

monkfish double carrots

Monkfish liver – also known as Ankimo – from Daimajin

I wasn’t sure if the panic on my face was because I was already starting to feel full and still had two sushi rolls to taste after the monkfish liver, or because I was scared of trying the five fish pâté disks in front of me.  For half a minute it was both.

If there’s something I have learned in the last four years, is that livers are tasty.  Chicken, goose, duck, and yes, even monkfish.  The texture was reminiscent of foi gras, but with that distinctive ocean flavor.  I worked my way through the monkfish liver and took back home with me most of the food from the remaining courses.  It turns out that a Futomaki sushi roll (eel, pickled vegetables and egg) rivals pizza in the “leftovers for breakfast” category.


monkfish double carrots

Monkfish tail halves and sea scallops

Only after that first experience with monkfish – and upon learning that the fish would be featured in one of the October FFwD recipes –  I was curious enough to look up the Spanish translation for monkfish.  The name for the fish is rape (“rah-peh”/”rah-pay”).  Reading it immediately triggered memories of old-school Spanish restaurants, the kind with jacketed waiters and towering dessert carts.  While not a menu mainstay, monkfish was occasionally featured as a special.  That’s how I ended up at a Spanish marisquería – seafood restaurant – which has a store that sells fresh fish and imported goodies. They only had a small monkfish tail available, so I bought that plus four plump scallops for the monkfish and double carrots dinner. The fishmonger cleaned and deboned my fish and I went home with two delicate fillets/tail halves.

monkfish double carrots

I have to admit this neither E nor I were wowed by this recipe.  Maybe I should have cooked down carrot juice sauce more, or deglazed the crusted bacon fat and scallop liquids with some carrot juice for extra flavor… The fish was bland, despite the bacon fat crust.  I probably rushed through the preparation, and the sauce needed time to come on its own.  Oh well.  They can’t all be almond crusted, brown buttered magic mahi mahi.

French Fridays with Dorie is an online cooking group where we work our way through Dorie Greenspan’s Around My French Table.  The original recipe can be found here.  Will I be alone in my feelings regarding this recipe?  There’s only one way to find out… check out my fellow Dorista links here.  

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Adriana is a financial analyst by day, avid home cook in the evenings, and food blogger and runner in the strange hours between those two. When not in the kitchen concocting meals and stories to pass around, she is out looking for the next great bite (or the ingredients to make it at home), checking what's new at the market, or planning a trip around great food and wine.

20 Responses to “French Fridays with Dorie: Monkfish with Double Carrots”

  1. October 10, 2014 at 5:46 am #

    Aw that’s too bad you didn’t like this one (but made for an entertaining post!). I loved the blandness of my fish (because that’s how I like my fish!) which worked well with the sweet carrots and salty bacon. Onwards and upwards, though!

    • October 10, 2014 at 6:00 am #

      Hehe… I was stalling until the inevitable conclusion. Onwards and upwards!

  2. October 10, 2014 at 5:56 am #

    Highly entertaining post about the 2nd Star of the recipe! Next please!

    ps: DH and I enjoyed the double carrots with Garoupa fillets!

  3. October 10, 2014 at 6:23 am #

    Yeah, if I saw that ugly face, I might STILL have made mine with scallops and shrimp! Sorry it wasn’t a winner at your house.

  4. October 10, 2014 at 7:51 am #

    Those glasses 🙂

    I am still not sure how they can call that ugly mug poor man’s lobster. There is a pretty good reason that no monk were chosen to be Ariel’s sidekicks in The Little Mermaid – they may have stood a chance with Ursula!

  5. October 10, 2014 at 1:17 pm #

    Sous Chef wants to know if you would order the monkfish liver again? We love omakase but have never been served that!

    So funny how such an ugly fish can generate such great flavor – really enjoyed your post!

    • October 10, 2014 at 1:19 pm #

      I would! It was delicious.

  6. October 10, 2014 at 7:32 pm #

    Your fish looks great! Sadly, no monkfish to be found here. I love the photo of the monkfish with the sunnies – I never realised what a “handsome” fella he was.

  7. October 10, 2014 at 9:05 pm #

    Monkfish liver…eee God. Glad you’re a liver lover… not I. I think the recipe as is was not that flavorful. I spent time infusing the carrots with butter and rosemary and I let the bacon really sit in the carrot juice. Next time try it with some scallops it is really good.

  8. October 12, 2014 at 1:07 am #

    You did an admirable amount of research for this week’s post. I love that you were served monkfish pate – it looks really good. I’m sorry the dish wasn’t a hit for you. I really liked it, save for the “dog-mergency” that cutting carrots causes in my kitchen – she thinks they’re all for her.

    • October 12, 2014 at 11:43 am #

      Hehe… I can’t open a pop-lid can without the cat showing up, all big and hopeful eyes. I hope you saved some carrots for Roxy.

  9. October 12, 2014 at 11:37 am #

    What a fun post!! Love the monkfish photo!

    I made mine at the last minute with scallops. I did love the sauce, but I also cooked all of that longer than the recipe called for – I used some fresh carrot juice from the market. I love that you were able to find the monkfish – great story, and such a beautiful dish!

    (no post for me, just a facebook picture – been a busy week)

    • October 12, 2014 at 11:41 am #

      I saw! Hope you are having fun in Houston.

  10. October 12, 2014 at 5:53 pm #

    Wow thanks for the picture of a monkfish, I had no idea it was so ugly. I am not a raw fish kind of person but I admire your attitude to try new things. Ocean flavored liver would put me over the edge. We enjoyed this one made with shrimp but I hear you with the carrots I prefer them roasted. I will have to try the mahi mahi recipe you suggested, I have not made it yet.

  11. October 12, 2014 at 8:41 pm #

    Great post, Adriana! I love the monkfish with sunglasses (though he will always be ugly). I’ve never tried (or heard of) monkfish liver. You get the top prize as intrepid eater this week. You know, you can’t love all the recipes. I didn’t think I’d like this week’s or last week’s recipes and was surprised to enjoy them both tremendously. You just never know. I agree that there was too much carrot juice in this one. I’d have liked it even more if it were less soupy.

  12. October 14, 2014 at 4:14 pm #

    A really fun and interesting post, Adriana! And the photo of the monkfish in sunglasses was hilarious! I could not find monkfish in my area and was actually sorry about that. I would have loved to give it a try. I was quite intrigued when I read that monkfish used to be considered a poor mans lobster! Sorry this was not a winner for you…it sure does look pretty!

  13. October 14, 2014 at 5:15 pm #

    Wow- the plates look stunning so I am sorry to hear it was not a HUGE hit. It certainly looks phenomenal (which in the world of food blogging, does count for a lot !!). And you had me hysterical with that horrific picture of the monk fish. Laughing hysterical, that is. That is one ugly fish and I am REALLY glad I did not know what it looked like before I tasted it. Egad. I think it was the fish in a Vincent Price horror film from the 70’s….not kidding !! 🙂

  14. October 14, 2014 at 10:18 pm #

    Love your adventurous spirit!
    And love the fish pic 🙂
    I found with the kids anything with bacon is a favourite, they’re easy to please!

  15. Maria Aponte
    November 9, 2014 at 1:16 pm #

    Yo lo veo muy bien. No he intentado prepararlo, pero me gusta la idea de prepararlo con bacon. 🙂

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