Monkfish, often referred to as “poor man’s lobster,” has a unique taste and texture that has gained appreciation in culinary circles.

Beyond its flavor, monkfish stands out for its nutritional profile. A lean source of protein, it contains a variety of nutrients that are beneficial to overall health. With a meaty texture, monkfish is versatile in the kitchen and can be prepared in various ways, suiting a range of dietary preferences.

Understanding the nutrition facts of monkfish is essential for those who are health-conscious or looking to maintain a balanced diet. It’s not only low in calories but also contains several vitamins and minerals that contribute to a healthy diet.

Being aware of potential allergens and the best ways to prepare and store monkfish can help individuals enjoy this seafood while reaping its nutritional benefits.

Key Takeaways

  • Monkfish is a nutritious, protein-rich seafood with a low calorie count.
  • It provides essential vitamins and minerals for a well-rounded diet.
  • Proper preparation and awareness of allergens enhance its dietary value.

Basic Nutrition Profile

Here’s a big monkfish I caught in February. It looks scary, but tastes delicious!

Monkfish, known for its firm texture and mild flavor, is a nutritious seafood selection. Its profile includes a notable protein content, low fat composition, and a moderate caloric content.

Caloric Content

Cooked monkfish contains approximately 82.5 calories per 3-ounce serving. This makes it a low-calorie protein source suitable for various diets.

Protein Content

A significant portion of monkfish’s nutrition comes from its protein, providing about 15.8 grams per serving. This protein contains essential amino acids like leucine, lysine, methionine, and more, which are crucial for muscle repair and growth.

Monkfish protein includes a variety of amino acids:

  • Essential: histidine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan, valine
  • Non-essential: arginine, aspartic acid, glutamic acid, glycine, proline, serine, alanine, cystine, tyrosine

Fat Composition

Monkfish is low in total fat, with about 1.7 grams per serving; saturated fat contributes minimally to the composition. Its fat profile includes various fatty acids, amenable to heart health and overall well-being.

Saturated fatty acids are present but in low quantities, aligning with nutritional advice for a heart-healthy diet.

Vitamins and Minerals

Every Vitamin & Mineral the Body Needs (Micronutrients Explained)

Monkfish is a highly nutritious type of fish that offers a dense profile of essential vitamins and minerals contributing to various aspects of health.

Micronutrient Density

Monkfish is a significant source of various micronutrients crucial for health. It is especially rich in selenium and phosphorus, as well as vitamins B6 and B12, all of which play vital roles in the body. The fish also provides a good amount of zinc and vitamin E.

  • Selenium: Essential for antioxidant defense and immune function.
  • Phosphorus: Important for bone health and energy production.
  • Vitamins B6 and B12: Vital for nervous system health and metabolism.
  • Zinc: Supports the immune system and wound healing.
  • Vitamin E: Acts as an antioxidant, protecting cell membranes.

Bone and Cell Health

Monkfish contributes to bone strength and cellular health through its content of specific vitamins and minerals.

Notably, it contains calcium and vitamin D, which are essential for bone health, and manganese, which is involved in bone formation and the metabolism of amino acids, cholesterol, and carbohydrates.

  • Calcium: Required for bone formation and maintenance.
  • Vitamin D: Improves calcium absorption and bone growth.
  • Manganese: Plays a role in bone health and body’s metabolism.

Metabolic Benefits

The vitamins and minerals in monkfish can influence metabolic pathways positively. Iron and B vitamins, such as niacin, riboflavin, thiamin, and folate, are key for energy production and the proper functioning of enzymes that aid in metabolism.

  • Iron: Crucial for the formation of red blood cells and transportation of oxygen.
  • B Vitamins (Niacin, Riboflavin, Thiamin, Folate): Essential for converting food into energy and maintaining normal metabolic processes.

Health Benefits

Monkfish, often recognized for its distinctive taste, is also held in high regard for its contribution to a healthy diet. With a selection of nutrients beneficial to human health, monkfish makes a worthy addition to a balanced meal plan.

Cardiovascular Health

Monkfish is a heart-healthy choice, as it is a low-fat protein source that may aid in reducing the risk of heart disease.

It contains vitamins B6 and B12, which are essential for maintaining healthy homocysteine levels in the blood, thereby potentially lowering the risk of cardiovascular problems. Regular consumption of monkfish might contribute to a lower cholesterol level, supporting overall heart health.

Weight Management

For individuals aiming to manage their weight, monkfish is an excellent dietary option. It is a lean source of protein, meaning it provides high levels of the nutrient without a significant amount of fat.

This low-fat, low-calorie character of monkfish can be particularly helpful for weight loss or maintenance when incorporated into carefully planned diets.

And on a personal note, I was able to drop quite a few kilos of excess weight by switching from meats like beef and pork to monkfish and other lean white fish.

Muscle and Tissue Repair

Protein is not only helpful for weight management but also vital for muscle and tissue repair. Monkfish is a rich source of complete protein, containing all essential amino acids needed for the body’s growth and repair processes. This high-quality protein content aids in maintaining muscle mass and promoting recovery from physical activity.

Monkfish Tail

A monkfish tail fillet laid out on a butcher's block.
This is a raw tail fillet from a smaller monkfish I caught a while ago.

Monkfish, often referred to in culinary contexts as “poor man’s lobster,” boasts a distinct taste and a texture reminiscent of lobster tail.

The tail meat is the primary section of the fish that is consumed. Rich in essential nutrients, monkfish tail serves as an excellent source of protein, with a cooked portion providing approximately 15.8g of protein.

Nutrients in Monkfish Tail:

  • Vitamins: It provides valuable B vitamins, including B6 and B12, playing a role in energy metabolism and neurological health.
  • Minerals: The tail contains important minerals such as phosphorus and selenium.

The monkfish’s low-fat content, with only 1.7g of total fat per cooked portion, makes it a lean option for those managing their dietary fat intake. Additionally, they are notably low in carbohydrates and sugars, aligning well with dietary plans that limit these macronutrients.

NutrientAmount per cooked portion (~85g)
Total Fat1.7g
Saturated FatMinimal

An advantage of including monkfish in the diet is its minimal bone structure, which makes it an easily consumable fish. One may enjoy monkfish fillets for their dense, meaty texture that remains intact upon cooking, rather than flaking apart as many other fish types do.

In summary, monkfish tail is a nutritious choice for a seafood meal, catering to various diets and palates with its mild flavor and substantial texture.

Monkfish Liver

a monkfish liver laid out on a steel deck.
This is what a raw monkfish liver looks like. I cut this liver out from a mature monkfish that looked well-nourished.

Monkfish liver, often regarded as the “foie gras of the sea,” is a delicacy commonly enjoyed in Japanese and French cuisine. It is prized for its creamy texture and rich flavor. Like foie gras, monkfish liver has a high-fat content, making it a luxurious ingredient for various dishes.

The nutritional profile of monkfish liver includes:

  • Protein: Essential for the repair and growth of tissues
  • Fats: Predominantly healthy unsaturated fats that contribute to its velvety consistency
  • Vitamins: Contains vitamins A and E, and is particularly rich in vitamin B12 and vitamin D

A 100g serving of monkfish liver offers the following approximate values:

Calories200 kcal
Vitamin B1260 mcg
Vitamin D1.6 mcg

Monkfish liver can be prepared in several ways, including gently sautéed, steamed, or grilled.

Cooks should handle it with care to maintain its delicate structure. When sourced sustainably, it provides a responsible and nutritious addition to any seafood connoisseur’s diet.

Its high fat content distinguishes it from the livers of leaner fish like snapper and tuna, and it provides nutrients like protein, phosphorus, and essential vitamins. This combination of nutrients supports overall well-being, including bone health and energy metabolism.

Monkfish liver is also an excellent source of selenium, a trace mineral that plays a crucial role in maintaining the immune system and thyroid function. The presence of omega-3 fatty acids contributes to cardiovascular health.

Despite its benefits, portion control is advisable due to its rich nature and caloric density.

Monkfish Cheeks

a raw monkfish cheek that has been cleaned.
Here’s a raw monkfish cheek from a quite large monkfish I caught.

Nutritional Profile:
Monkfish cheeks are recognized for their nutritional value, particularly their protein content.

A serving of monkfish cheeks is low in fat and high in protein, which is essential for muscle repair and overall health. They also contain various other nutrients that are vital for well-being.

NutrientAmount per Serving
CaloriesApproximately 90 calories for 4 oz
ProteinVaries, but is generally high
FatAbout 2g

Health Benefits:
These cheeks are not only a delicacy but also offer several health benefits. They provide a good source of vitamins and minerals such as phosphorus, which is important for maintaining strong bones, and selenium, known for its antioxidant properties.

Furthermore, monkfish is a source of vitamins B6 and B12, essential for neurological function and energy production.

Culinary Uses:
Monkfish cheeks are often considered a gourmet item and can be prepared in various ways. They can be pan-seared to achieve a tender texture and are praised for their flavor, which is reminiscent of lobster.

Their versatility in the kitchen allows for diverse culinary applications, ranging from simple sautés to more elaborate dishes.

Remember, the nutritional value of monkfish cheeks can complement various dietary needs, offering a unique option for those seeking to incorporate seafood into their meals.

Preparation and Cooking

How To Prepare And Cook Monkfish.

Properly preparing and cooking monkfish is crucial to maximizing its nutritional benefits and ensuring the best flavor. This section outlines effective cooking methods, suggests serving sizes, recommends culinary pairings, and discusses how to retain the fish’s nutrients during cooking.

Cooking Methods

Monkfish’s firm texture allows it to be cooked using various methods. For dry heat cooking, roasting at 400°F for about 20 minutes will yield a tender and moist result.

Alternatively, a quick sauté over medium heat lets the natural flavors shine. Monkfish can also be poached, a method that imbues it with the flavors of the liquid used, such as a delicate soup or broth.

Serving Suggestions

A standard serving size for monkfish is 3 to 4 ounces per person. When served, a simple squeeze of fresh lemon juice can enhance the fish’s sweet, lobster-like taste. Incorporating monkfish into soups helps create satisfyingly hearty dishes.

Culinary Pairings

Monkfish pairs well with a variety of sides due to its mild but slightly sweet flavor. It complements grains like quinoa or roasted vegetables. The versatility of monkfish also makes it suitable for bolder flavor profiles found in curries or Mediterranean-style dishes with tomatoes and olives.

Nutrient Retention

To preserve the nutrients such as omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins, and minerals, it’s best to use cooking methods that require less fat and entail shorter cooking times. For example, baking or steaming monkfish helps maintain these essential nutrients, contributing to a healthful diet.

Allergens and Safety Information

What are the 14 food allergens? | Food Safety Training | iHASCO

When considering monkfish in a diet, one must be informed about potential allergens and safety considerations. This fish, like other types of seafood, is subject to concerns regarding mercury levels, sodium content, and specific allergies.

Mercury Content

Monkfish, as a bottom-dwelling fish, may contain varying levels of mercury. Adults should consume a variety of fish and shellfish that are lower in mercury to minimize any adverse effects.

It’s important to check with current guidelines for the recommended consumption frequency of monkfish related to mercury exposure.

Sodium Content

Monkfish itself is naturally low in sodium, which makes it a suitable option for those on a low-sodium diet.

However, one must be cautious with preparation methods that may add sodium to the dish. For individuals monitoring their sodium intake, it’s critical to prepare monkfish without adding extra salt or high-sodium ingredients.

Allergy Guidance

As with all seafood, monkfish can be an allergen for some individuals. Those who have a known fish allergy should avoid monkfish to prevent any allergic reactions. If you experience symptoms of a food allergy, such as hives, swelling, or difficulty breathing after consuming monkfish, seek medical attention immediately.

More information on allergies related to seafood can be found on reputable health resources like Whole Foods Market’s allergen information for monkfish.

Dietary Considerations

In considering the dietary implications of monkfish, one should evaluate diet compatibility, the sustainability of sourcing monkfish, as well as understand the regulations and labels associated with this seafood.

Diet Compatibility

Monkfish is a versatile seafood that aligns with various dietary plans due to its nutritional profile.

For those adhering to a keto diet, its near zero net carbs and total carbohydrates make it an ideal option. Similarly, it suits a paleo diet because of its natural, unprocessed nature and absence of sugars and trans fats. The high protein content also benefits those following the Mediterranean diet, which emphasizes seafood, and it’s safe for a gluten-free diet due to the lack of gluten-containing ingredients.

Sustainability and Source

When it comes to sustainability and sourcing, monkfish often come from the Atlantic Ocean.

It is important for consumers to consider the environmental impact of monkfish fisheries. Overfishing in some regions has led to increased efforts to ensure sustainable practices. Seafood lovers should seek providers that source monkfish responsibly, in ways that support the conservation of oceanic ecosystems.

Regulations and Labels

The monkfish sold in the U.S. is subject to regulatory oversight to ensure it meets daily value and safety standards. Consumers should look for labels confirming regulations were followed, such as recommended daily values for nutrients.

This transparency offers a level of assurance, so that when news of industry changes arises, consumers can make informed decisions. Certifications on labels can also indicate the monkfish’s country of origin and whether it has been tested for contaminants.

Monkfish in Popular Diets

Monkfish is a distinctive choice for individuals following various dietary regimens, owing to its nutritional profile. For those on a keto or low-carb diet, monkfish is a suitable option because it contains virtually no carbohydrates.

This absence of carbs supports the keto principle of high-fat, moderate-protein, and low-carb intake to facilitate a state of ketosis.

Here is a quick nutritional breakdown for monkfish:

NutrientAmount per 100g
Calories97 kcal
Total Carbohydrate0g

The low calorie count further adds to monkfish’s appeal for caloric control, which is an essential aspect of many diets. Those consuming monkfish can enjoy a high-protein meal without worrying about excessive caloric intake.

Monkfish’s nutritional content, especially its protein level, complements the requirements of weight management and muscle-building diets. The protein in monkfish supports muscle repair and growth, making it beneficial for individuals engaged in regular physical activity.

In summary, monkfish is a versatile seafood that aligns well with popular eating plans emphasizing protein intake, minimizing sugars, and controlling total carbohydrate consumption. Its nutrient-dense nature makes it a valuable addition to diet-conscious meal planning.

Buying and Storage Tips

How to Buy Fresh Fish | a Fishmonger's Guide

When purchasing monkfish, it’s essential to identify fresh, quality seafood. Proper storage methods ensure that the monkfish retains its flavor and nutritional value until ready to be prepared.

Selecting Fresh Fish

One should look for monkfish with a fresh sea breeze scent and a moist, shiny appearance. If buying monkfish tails, which are more common, they should feel firm to the touch and have a consistent coloring. It’s often suggested to find monkfish at reputable seafood markets or online retailers that provide detailed product information.

Preservation Methods

Monkfish should be stored in the coldest part of the refrigerator immediately upon returning home. For optimal freshness, it can be placed on a bed of ice and covered with a damp cloth, making sure any excess water is drained to prevent spoilage.

As a monkfish fisherman, I like to age my freshly caught monkfish on ice for about four days to soften up the meat a little before I cook it as I have found that the texture improves quite a bit that way. But it is fine to eat it fresh as well.

For longer storage, monkfish can be wrapped in plastic and frozen, where it can be kept for up to two months. When thawing, one should do so in the refrigerator to maintain safety and flavor integrity.

Future Outlook and Trends

The future outlook for monkfish nutrition is poised at the intersection of advancing nutritional research and escalating market growth. This trajectory reflects a broader commitment to sustainable seafood from the Atlantic Ocean, as well as a recognition of the health benefits offered by fish like monkfish and lobster.

Nutritional Research

Nutritional research is expanding to refine fish diets, particularly for species like monkfish. Recent studies indicate a progression towards high-energy diets that surpass basic nutritional needs, potentially improving monkfish physiology and welfare.

Researchers are also exploring novel ingredients and feed additives which may enhance the nutritional quality of monkfish, making it a healthier option for consumers. With an emphasis on not just meeting but exceeding species-specific requirements, the research is inevitably contributing to more nutritious and sustainable seafood options. Insights from a recent paper illuminate these significant strides in fish nutrition.

Market Growth

The market for monkfish is experiencing an upward trend. There is an anticipated compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 3% for the overall fish nutrition market, with demand fueled by an increase in online sales and consumer awareness.

By 2033, the market valuation is expected to surge to USD 5.38 billion, driven by heightened emphasis on the nutritional value of fish like monkfish and a growing movement towards responsible sourcing from the Atlantic Ocean’s bounty.

The demand for monkfish in particular benefits from its unique texture and flavor which places it as a staple in gourmet seafood cuisine. This market outlook garners attention from the Fish Nutrition Market report, which details the expected growth and evolving consumer demands in this sector.

A fisherman gutting and preparing a monkfish for sale.
Per Ole Røttingen cleaning monkfish on his fishing vessel.

Per Ole Røttingen, a commercial monkfish fisherman of over 20 years from Norway also says that he has noticed an increasing demand for monkfish over the years.

References and Resources

When researching monkfish nutrition, numerous resources can provide detailed insight into the nutrient composition of this seafood. A valuable starting point for individuals looking to incorporate monkfish into their diet is “Monkfish Nutrition Facts – Eat This Much”, which gives a comprehensive breakdown of protein content among other nutritional information.

For those interested in the health benefits associated with monkfish consumption, “Monkfish: How It Can Benefit Your Overall Well-Being – WebMD” offers an article that articulates the presence of essential nutrients like selenium and vitamins B6 and B12. It also touches on how these nutrients contribute to one’s overall well-being and the applicable daily values.

Eat This MuchNutrition facts including protein, calories, and dietary recommendations
WebMDOverview of health benefits and the nutrient profile of monkfish
Food StructDetailed nutritional characteristics such as calorie, carb, and potassium content
Health Benefits TimesA concise summary of monkfish’s nutritional value and moisture contents
FatSecretCaloric and fat content specifics for those tracking macronutrients

Researchers and health-conscious individuals can rely on these sources for information on monkfish nutrition. It is recommended to cross-reference the available data with current studies and scientific resources to ensure accuracy and relevance.

Readers are encouraged to consult such resources online before integrating monkfish into their dietary plans, keeping in mind their individual dietary needs and restrictions.


Monkfish stands out in the seafood selection for its substantial nutritional benefits.

One can capitalize on its high protein content, which is essential for muscle growth and repair. With appreciable levels of vitamins B6 and B12, monkfish supports the central nervous system and contributes to the formation of red blood cells.

Moreover, it is a source of phosphorus, vital for bone health, and selenium, an important antioxidant that helps protect cells from damage.

The low-calorie nature of monkfish makes it an excellent choice for those monitoring their caloric intake. Its lean protein contributes to a feeling of fullness, potentially aiding in weight management.

Additionally, the omega-3 fatty acids present in monkfish are linked to cardiovascular health, although it’s paramount to consider the portion sizes to keep the overall fat intake in check.

When incorporating monkfish into a diet, it should be considered that it may contain trace amounts of mercury, as with many seafood options. It is typically recommended to consume such fish varieties in moderation, particularly for certain populations such as pregnant women and young children.

In light of its nutritional value and potential health benefits, monkfish can be a versatile and delicious seafood choice. However, incorporating a variety of protein sources, including other seafood, lean meats, and plant-based proteins, will ensure a balanced and diverse diet.

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Torstein Rottingen


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