Baked Monk fish with smoked paprika (poor man’s lobster) ベイクドパプリカアンコウ(擬製ロブスター)

japanese cake

Does this look like a nice lobster tail with caper butter lemon sauce? If it does, I was very successful in fooling you.

I usually do not get fresh fish at our regular grocery store since the fish does not look great most of the time. We go to (more expensive) gourmet markets to buy fish and some specialty meats. But today, they had monk fish which looked good and I got one. As you know, Japanese will make use of all parts of this deep water bottom feeder. Its liver is cherished and is called “ankimo” but here in U.S., the only part we see in the market is the tail meat. I pondered a while about how to cook this and decided to bake it with paprika. I do not remember where I got this recipe/idea. I used to cook Monk fish tails this way quite often  but I have not done this for some time. I have posted Monk fish cooked other ways but the end result of this method is that it looks like a nice fat lobster tail, although the texture and taste are not quite similar.

I had a 3/4 lb filet for 2 (small) servings. I first removed the thin membrane from the meat without wasting too much meat underneath. I then made a slit in the center lengthwise (left in the image above). I coated the filet with olive oil and season it with salt, black pepper, and smoked paprika powder (either Spanish or domestic, I used domestic). You need to use quite a good amount of paprika to get good end results. I then sautéd the bottom side in a mixture of olive oil and butter (2 tsp each) on a hot frying pan (medium high heat) for a few minutes. If you place the fish in the pan when the oil/butter is melted and hot, it will not stick. I also decided to cook/bake, green beans with it (right on the image above). I then placed the pan in a 350F oven for 10-12 minutes or until the inner temperature of the thickest part of the fish read 145-150F using a digital quick read thermometer. This is the only fish I know of, which needs to “rest’. I removed the fillets to a plate and loosely covered them with aluminum foil to let them rest at least 5 minutes.

Meanwhile I made lemon caper butter sauce. After the fish was out of the pan, I pushed the green beans on the side and added shallot (one, finely chopped) and sauteed for 1 minute or so and deglazed it with white vermouth (1 tbs). When the liquid reduced to almost dry, I added several  more small pats of butter (total of 2-3 tsps). When the butter melted, I added  lemon juice (2 tsp), capers (1 tsp) and chopped parsley. 

I sliced the cooked Monk fish into medallions and  poured the lemon caper butter sauce over them. The fish was not overcooked and very tender. Paprika is mostly for color but does add a nice slightly smoky flavor. The texture and taste are not quite like a real lobster tail but it is a very nice dish if a bit butter heavy. I could have had this with nice dry sparkling wine but instead we had cold sake.

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