With its sweet and succulent flavor, monkfish, which has long been known as a stand-in for lobster, mimics the crustacean's richness while while being much easier to prepare. At Blue Hound in Phoenix, Arizona, chef Stephen Jones coats a generous piece of monkfish with panko breadcrumbs and fries the fillet (which comes from the tail) until golden-brown. A crème fraîche-slicked haystack of kohlrabi and celery root accompanies the dish. Feel free to stack the lot on a brioche bun for a lobster-roll-like sandwich easy enough for tonight's dinner.
Monkfish Schnitzel With Celery Root-Kohlrabi Slaw
Recipe adapted from Stephen Jones, Blue Hound Kitchen & Cocktails, Phoenix, AZ
Yield: 4 servings
Cook Time: 10 minutes (plus 30 minutes refrigeration)
Two 8-ounce monkfish fillets
2 teaspoons kosher salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon water
2 cups Japanese panko breadcrumbs
3 tablespoons canola oil
2 large lemons, 1 juiced and 1 cut into wedges
½ medium bulb celery root--outer layer peeled and discarded and bulb sliced into thin matchsticks
1 medium head green kohlrabi, stems discarded and bulb sliced into thin matchsticks
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
½ teaspoon kosher salt
1 medium yellow onion, halved and thinly sliced lengthwise
½ cup crème fraîche
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
1 teaspoon celery seeds
2 teaspoons yellow mustard seeds
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1. Place each monkfish fillet between two pieces of plastic wrap or into a resealable plastic bag, and use a mallet or a rolling pin to pound the fish gently until each piece is ¼-inch thick. Slice each piece in half diagonally to create 4 pieces total. Season both sides of the monkfish with the salt and pepper. To a medium bowl, add the flour. To another medium bowl, add the eggs and water and use a fork to beat until combined. To a third medium bowl, add the breadcrumbs. Working one at a time, dredge each monkfish first in the flour, then in the egg-water mixture and finally in the panko, coating both sides completely. Transfer the coated monkfish to a parchment-lined baking sheet and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
2. Make the slaw: In a large mixing bowl, add the celery root, kohlrabi, sugar, vinegar and salt and toss to coat. Set the mixture aside to macerate for 10 minutes. Carefully drain the liquid from the bowl and add the onion, crème fraîche, fennel seeds, celery seeds, mustard seeds and pepper and toss to coat.
3. Remove the monkfish from the refrigerator. Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add the canola oil and heat until the oil is shimmering. Add the monkfish to the pan and cook on one side until browned and crisp, about 5 minutes, then gently flip the monkfish and cook until the second side is browned and the monkfish is cooked through, 4 to 5 minutes. Remove the monkfish from the pan and transfer to a paper-towel-lined baking sheet. Let the excess oil drain off, then place 1 monkfish piece in the center of each of 4 plates and drizzle with the lemon juice. Top each with some of the slaw and serve with the lemon wedges.