Monday, June 13, 2016

Fried Monkfish Liver (serves 1 to 2)

Do you eat monkfish or monkfish liver? Have you noticed these approximately one inch string-like strands inside the meat or liver? Apparently they are common and natural. Before you eat any monkfish in the future you may want to take a closer look. Hopefully for many of you your fish monger had already plucked out the worms for you!

a parasite found in monkfish liver
Recently Ralph, my fisherman friend stopped by at the end of work to drop off some monkfish livers his generous friend saved for him. He tells me most of the livers get shipped and sold overseas (mostly to Asia) where they are in high demand. I can see the reason as these are delicious! I ate monkfish livers once in a restaurant in Portland, Maine. One time I was able to find a local fish market that saved a liver for me. She did not know the pricing for that so she generously gave it to me without a charge. That liver that I received was huge--about a foot long! I fried it and my husband, a neighbor and I sat out on the deck and ate it...probably worms and all! Since then I have not been able to purchase anymore. Thank you Ralph and friend for the livers!

Once home I washed the livers in cold water. I also pulled out about 10 worms from that batch of (11) livers! Some of them were poking out of the livers, some were just beneath the surface and some were inside the one I cooked. I have to be honest the first and second time I pulled one of these out, they moved and I got a bit freaked. I think I recovered by the 5th one!  

fresh monkfish livers
My husband and I ate one liver with toasted baguette. See my recipe below. I saved the others after pulling out all the visible parasites, bagged them, and threw them in the freezer--to kill any parasites remaining inside. We both thought it was tasty despite seeing the parasites! My husband advises me to just chew the food well before washing it down with a good beer!

According to Ralph, "monk fish are like cod and cusk where they sometimes have a lot of worms. Part of nature. Just pick out the ones you see. Won't hurt you if you miss some." If you have concerns about these parasites just be sure to freeze and/or cook them thoroughly prior to eating.

Here is a youtube video of someone pulling out a worm and a link that someone nicely wrote about them. Bon appetit!!…/specia…/2013_02_20_monkfish/

There are parasites that you do not want in your body. Check out this Roundworm reference from the University of Maryland Medical Center website. If you suspect that you have any of these worms I suggest you see a health care provider for proper diagnosis and treatment.

fried monkfish liver
Fried Monkfish Liver (serves 1 to 2)

A pinch of salt
A pinch of ground black pepper
A few dried sage leaves, crushed
1 monkfish liver (about 7 inch x 5 inch), cut in half, removed any visible parasites, washed well, drained and dabbed with a clean paper towel to dry
About 1 Tbsp olive oil


Add salt, pepper, and crushed sage to both sides of the liver. Fry the liver in oil over medium high about 5 minutes on each side until golden brown. Cook until brown if you want to assure that the parasites are killed completely! Keep a splatter guard on the pan to contain the oil.

fried monkfish liver with boiled periwinkle
on sauteed baby kale and toasted baguette
fried monkfish liver with boiled periwinkle
on sauteed baby kale and toasted baguette
*You may use a different oil if you prefer.
*If you have fresh sage then just fry them whole and use them as a garnish for your appetizers.
*For appetizers as seen above:
I used benecol (magarine made from plant stanols) to spread on the toasts. Added Sauteed Baby Kale, then topped with a slice of Fried Monkfish Liver and even some Boiled Periwinkles.

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