Pan Fried Monkfish.

Monkfish fillets sauteed in olive oil and butter with smashed whole garlic cloves and lemon slices. This is a simple, foolproof fish dinner that comes together in minutes.

An overhead image of pan fried monkfish in a skillet with a fish spatula.

WHAT IS MONKFISH?

Monkfish (image below) is a firm, meaty, mild flavored and slighty sweet tasting fish. It is SO delicious. The filets vary from white to pinkish to greyish. A sign of fresh monkfish is visible fresh blood on the fillets, as you can see in the picture below. The fillets should smell fresh like the sea, not fishy. Monkfish actually has a flavor and texture very similiar to lobster – in fact, it is often called the poor man’s lobster. Basically lobster without the price tag … and without the shell! Learn more about monkfish in this Monkfish Curry post.

One important thing to note about monkfish is that oftentimes when you purchase it, it will still have a grey membrane surrounding the fillet. This thin membrane needs to be removed (most of it anyway). You’ll do that using a paring knife, carefully. It’s not necessary to remove all of the membrane, just do the best you can, because it will seize up when you cook the monkfish, making it a bit unpleasant to eat. If you have a great fish market, ask them to remove the membrane for you.  If that’s not an option, don’t be intimidated by removing the membrane – it takes a few minutes (and a bit of practice), but it’s worth it because monkfish really is one of the most delicious fish out there!

Because monkfish is firm and meaty, it doesn’t fall apart easily, making it a great choice for any cooking method, including grilling, roasting, in soups and chowders,  roasting, pan frying and more.

IS MONKFISH HEALTHY?

Yes! Monkfish is rich in protein and provides a good source of phosphorous, selenuim, niacin, vitamin B6 and Vitamin B12. (Source: FishWatch.gov)

An image of raw monkfish fillets on a white plate.

Here’s what you’ll need to make this Pan Fried Monkfish:

INGREDIENTS:

  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Monkfish fillets, membrane removed
  • Butter
  • Garlic
  • White wine
  • Lemon
  • Parsley
  • Salt and pepper

An image of ingredients for pan fried monkfish.

STEP BY STEP INSTRUCTIONS:

  • Add olive oil to a large skillet over medium heat.
  • Season the monkfish fillets on both sides with salt and pepper.
  • When pan is hot, add monkfish to the skillet, along with the smashed garlic cloves and lemon slices. Flip fish after 3-4 minutes. Add butter and white wine when you flip the fish.

An overhead image of monkfish cooking in a skillet.

  • Spoon butter and juices overtop the fish as it finishes cooking, another 3-4 minutes, depending on the thickness of the filet. Monkfish is cooked through when it’s opaque throughout, flakes easily and becomes slightly firm. Safe internal temperature for fish is 145 degrees F (at the thickest part of the flesh), but you’ll want to take it off before then, as the fish will continue rising in temperature even after you’ve removed it from the heat.

An image of monkfish fillets being pan fried in a white skillet on the stovetop.

  • Remove from heat and top with chopped parsley. When plating the monkfish, include the pan fried lemon rings and garlic cloves, as well as the pan juices. Serve with lemon wedges.

An image of monkfish being pan fried in a skillet.

SIDE DISH SUGGESTIONS:

We love serving this monkfish with one or more of these sides:

  • Warm, crusty bread to mop up some of the skillet juices.
  • Crispy roasted potatoes
  • A large green salad with citrus vinaigrette
  • Roasted broccoli
An overhead image of pan fried monkfish in a skillet with lemon slices on a white countertop.

Pan Fried Monkfish

Monkfish fillets sauteed in olive oil and butter with whole garlic cloves and lemon slices. This is a simple, foolproof fish dinner that comes together in minutes.
5 from 2 votes
Total Time 15 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Servings 4
Calories 222 kcal

Equipment

  • 1 skillet

Ingredients
  

  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 1/2 pounds monkfish fillets
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 4 cloves garlic smashed
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • 1 lemon sliced into rings
  • 1/4 cup parsley loosely packed and chopped

For serving

  • Lemon wedges

Instructions
 

  • Add olive oil to a large skillet over medium heat. Pat monkfish very dry and season fillets on both sides with salt and pepper.
  • When pan is hot, add monkfish to the skillet along with garlic cloves and lemon slices. Flip fish after 3-4 minutes. Add butter and white wine to the skillet when you flip the fish.
  • Spoon the melted butter and wine overtop the fish as it finishes cooking, another 3-4 minutes, depending on the thickness of the fillets. Monkfish is cooked through when it’s opaque throughout, flakes easily and becomes slightly firm. Safe internal temperature for fish is 145 degrees F (at the thickest part of the flesh), but you’ll want to take it off before then, as the fish will continue rising in temperature even after you remove it from the heat.
  • Remove from heat and top with chopped parsley, salt and pepper to taste. When plating the monkfish, include the pan fried lemon rings and garlic cloves, as well as the pan juices. Serve with lemon wedges.

Nutrition

Calories: 222kcalCarbohydrates: 5gProtein: 25gFat: 10gSaturated Fat: 2gPolyunsaturated Fat: 2gMonounsaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 43mgSodium: 188mgPotassium: 773mgFiber: 1gSugar: 1gVitamin A: 403IUVitamin C: 22mgCalcium: 42mgIron: 1mg
Keyword Pan Fried Monkfish
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An overhead image of a pan fried monkfish filet on a grey plate with a lemon ring.

An overhead image of a cooked monfkish fillet on a gray plate.

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