Chef Thomas Keller’s Pan-Roasted Monkfish Tail Recipe

Written by MasterClass

Last updated: Jun 8, 2022 • 3 min read

“I love monkfish. It’s one to those fish that is firm in flesh and very meaty and lends itself incredibly well to roasting.” - Chef Thomas Keller, of Napa Valley’s Yountville restaurants Bouchon, Ad Hoc, and The French Laundry, and New York’s Per Se.

This elegant recipe marries monkfish with beurre rouge, a red wine butter sauce. If that sounds unusual, that’s because it is: White wine sauces or a squeeze of lemon juice with extra virgin olive oil and black pepper are more common with seafood, but beurre rouge is a beautiful match for the cooking technique used for the monkfish. The richness and intensity of the sauce can be adjusted by modifying the amount of butter you use. While the reduction for the beurre rouge can be made in advance, the sauce should be emulsified with the butter just before serving.

Prior to pan-roasting, Chef Keller trusses the monkfish using a slipknot technique he learned during his days as a Boy Scout. He does this so that the meat will stay on the bone, though he stresses the importance of trussing gently so as not to damage the meat. It will also make the trussing easier to remove when you’re ready to serve. If you can’t find monkfish tail or monkfish fillet, Chef Keller suggests another firm and meaty fish, such as sturgeon, swordfish, or striped bass (these fish do not need to be trussed because their flesh does not need to stay attached to bone or cartilage). Learn how to truss a monkfish here.