About Me
I'm a Melbourne boy, hailing from St Kilda with one ex, one current wife and four kids. Love the outdoors and making new discoveries. I cook a lot at home (cheers from wife) and do some preserving, mostly jams, pickles and fruit liqueurs. This is the diary of a cooking journey.

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Wednesday, May 30, 2007
Ugly Betty's Pet Fish

I love to catch my own fish, but when the weather turns cold or I'm after a variety that I don't fish for, you'll find me at the fishmongers. Even if I'm not after any, I always have a peek at what's on offer; fish are something that have interested me all my life, right from when my dad used to bring home buckets of fish from his trips when I was two or three years old. Any display of fish is endlessly fascinating to me.

But there was something especially noticeable about this particular display at Southland Seafood at Southland shopping centre. Can you see it? Come a little closer.

What the hell is that? Well, it's an Australian stargazer that some wit has artfully placed a pilchard in its mouth. It has got to be one of the ugliest fish I have ever seen. It is in fact so ugly that the fishmonger usually fillets them so that no one is too scared by them. He actually sells them as monkfish, which I've never had, but he tells me they are very similar, so maybe I can dust off those recipes that call for monkfish and replace it with stargazer.

As a bloke, I hope I never swim over a really big one in case I lose something near and dear. I saw a similar fish on Iron Chef one time and it was held in very high regard indeed by the Japanese. Apart from the massive head, it also contained a large liver that is a delicacy, but I don't know if this one is the same. The filleted and skinned fish do look like pictures of monkfish, with dense looking flesh, really meaty looking.

If indeed it is like monkfish, it would have to be an absolute steal at that price, this beast looked like 2.5 kg so would cost around $15 and would easily feed four after cleaning. I might have a go with one of these shortly.


  posted at 9:19 am

At 12:51 pm, Blogger Ed said...

It looks pretty much like a Monkfish and what a steal. You should have snapped it up. Monkfish is a delicacy back in London. It has a very firm flesh, a bit like prawn, which make it ideal for curries.

At 5:43 pm, Blogger kitchen hand said...

I love cheap fish. Skate's my favourite. I've noticed it creeping into upscale nosheries.

At 6:19 pm, Blogger neil said...

Hi ed, I heard it has become scarily expensive in London, maybe we could export some. A bit like prawn sounds nice, curry you say...

Hi kitchen hand, I like skate too though it's quite rich meat. The other day I used the burnt butter sauce with capers that I would usually put on skate with some gummy shark and it worked really well, which should be no surprise as they are both from the same family.

At 7:25 pm, Blogger Jeanne said...

I was just going to say that this must be the cousin of a monkfish (doesn't that sound like a great insult - "you cousin of a monkfish!!" LOL)- and a mokfish is certainyl the ugliest fish I know. It makes up for looks in taste though - I love its lobster-like firm texture and the fact that it cooks in the blink of an eye. Bloody expensive though and can hardly be called poor man's lobster anymore! Let us know how yuo get on if you brave this ugly fellow...

At 8:05 pm, Blogger Lydia said...

Definitely looks like a monkfish cousin, in which case you can just lop off the tail and discard that ugly head. Monkfish tail is delicious, but I confess that I'd prefer to buy it from a fishmonger who'd already extricated it from the rest of the fish!

At 6:25 pm, Blogger neil said...

Hi jeanne, what a great insult indeed, I'll tuck that in my back pocket...

Hi lydia, this fishmonger usually does lop of the head and skin them. Guess it's about time for me to have a go, but what's frustrating is I've never had monkfish so I can't compare them.

At 11:55 pm, Anonymous Ellie said...

That fish is going to give me nightmares. I can understand why the fishmonger usually just sells it as fillets!


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