Seafood: The ULTIMATE Fancy, Luxurious Celebration Food!

Friday, December 28th, 2012 | posted by mike

cooked lobster

Dear customers,
Here’s to you!

The Mongers at Monahan’s can’t thank you enough for giving us another great year at the market.
Since 79′ folks like you have helped keep small local places like ours around and enabled us to keep doing what we love.
We truly appreciate you,

Happy New Year from all of us at Monahan’s. See you in 2013!

Another year has come and gone…What could be more special than steamed Maine lobster, caviar, or a giant king crab leg for your New Year’s feast?

Whole roasted Bronzini or Red Snapper are always an impressive crowd pleaser. One-pot dishes like Bouillabaisse, Paella, Cioppino or Oyster Stew are a celebration in themselves. A plate of steamed mussels or clams in a garlicky broth will warm your soul. Wild gulf shrimp cocktail, octopus salad, Maine lobster salad, smoked fish, pickled herring? It doesn’t get any better.

And don’t forget the oysters—the taste of the seven seas served in their own natural mother-of-pearl cup.

Dave’s Aroos Ala Al Fahm or Grilled Sea Bass

Friday, September 7th, 2012 | posted by mike

Serves 4

2- 11/2-2 lb. whole bronzini or similar firm fleshed fish such as black sea bass, large porgy or snapper – scaled, gutted

2 large red onions

2 cloves garlic

Juice of 1 lemon

1 green bell pepper

1 T cumin

1/2 t red chili powder

Kosher or sea salt

grilled bronzini-1Place fish in a Pyrex pan or sheet tray to marinate

Squeeze lemon juice over both sides of fish

In a food processor, puree onion and garlic

Remove handfuls of onion garlic mixture and squeeze the juices out over the fish

Return onion garlic mix back to food processor, add green pepper, cumin and chili powder, mix, and then liberally stuff the fish

Season both sides of fish with saltstuffed bronzini

Let fish marinate for 15-30 min.

Lightly baste fish with olive oil and place on a clean, oiled grill (so fish won’t stick) Grill over med- high if using gas grill

Grill covered for about 6 min. a side or until fish is just opaque in center

Flipping tip – the salt on the fish should help the skin to crisp up nicely but you have to be careful and gentle flipping the fish. If your grill is clean and oiled, slide two spatulas under fish to flip and skin should stay intact

Dave served this dish with his homemade fatoush salad and baba ganoush- made with farm fresh eggplants, grilled over the coals (recipe included)

Baba Ganoush

Serves 4-6

2 large or 4 small eggplants, roasted and seeded

1/2 C tahini

Juice from 1 1/2 – 2 lemons to taste

2 cloves garlic

Olive oil

eggplant on coalsBefore grilling the bronzini, Dave tossed the eggplants directly on the hot coals, turning them occasionally until charred and soft in the center (around 15 min.) He then peeled the skin, sliced them in half, seeded them and squeezed the juices out. One of the larger eggplants wasn’t quite soft in the center so he microwaved it for a couple minutes then popped everything in the food processor and served it in a bowl with a drizzle of olive oil over it.

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Garlicy-Lemony Grilled Bronzini with Rosemary

Friday, June 17th, 2011 | posted by mike

Bronzini have a bone structure that’s easy to navigate, a buttery texture and a sweet delicate flavor. It’s a perfect fish for a whole fish novice and, like the yellowtail snapper from last week’s report, you slowly enjoy every part from the cheeks and collar on down. It’s a wonderful, simple dish that goes great with some crusty bread and a nice green salad. This recipe would work for any small whole fish on the grill such as snapper, porgy, orata or bluefish. Serves 2.

  • 1 1/2–2 lb. whole bronzini (gutted, gilled and scored for grilling)
  • 1/2 c olive oil
  • 8 cloves garlic
  • 4 springs rosemary
  • lemon cut into slices, then halved
  • kosher salt & pepper

Heat grill to medium (if gas) or heat coal grill using the indirect method (hot spots on either side of the grill with an open space in the center). Make sure the grill is clean well-oiled.

Stuff fish with 4 cloves of crushed garlic, 4 of the lemon slices, a sprig of rosemary and salt & pepper. Mix olive oil, the remaining garlic cloves (minced) and the other 3 sprigs of the rosemary (crushed) in a dish with the rest of the lemons. Place stuffed fish in this marinade for about 10 minutes. Just before grilling, remove the fish and bring marinate to a boil so you can use it as a sauce for the finished fish.

When coals are hot and white (or gas grill has heated). Place fish gently over the open space with no coals directly under it and grill for 5–6 minutes a side. Flip gently with a spatula and tongs so you don’t lose the crispy skin (this is why you want a well-oiled grill). Remove to a platter and top with the sauce you made from the marinade.

Lavraki: We've got the scoop, Bronzini is tasty!

Friday, June 17th, 2011 | posted by Monahan's

In Greece the European sea bass is called Lavraki, it is also a term Greek journalists use when they snag an exclusive story, referring to how lucky you are if you catch one. If you get a chance, you’d be lucky to taste one. In France they’re called Loup or Bar. The Spanish call them Robalo, northern Italians call them Bronzino and elsewhere in Italy they’re called Spigola. Marketed in the U.S. As Bronzini—they’re widely distributed from Norway to western Sahara, the Meditteranean and Black Seas—these fish are loved wherever they’re found and have been since early Roman days.

Due to intense fishing pressure, wild stocks have dwindled worldwide and the price of available wild bronzini is astronomical. Fortunately the cultivation of these European favorites has been evolving for a couple thousand years. From the ancient times of trapping them in lagoons to fatten them up, to the pioneering Israelis, French and Greeks—who in the ’60s mastered the farming techniques that enabled the European bass to become the second biggest in production of farmed fish in Europe next to salmon.

monahan's seafood market | whole fishTo many people, “farmed” is a dirty word when it comes to fish. There’s been a lot of negative press in the U.S., mainly about salmon farming but just the word has developed a negative connotation. A lot of the criticism is justified but as farmed fish and shellfish approach (and may have already passed) 50 percent of total worldwide consumption, I think we have to accept the fact that fish farming will play an important roll in the feeding of the world. In his book, Four Fish, Paul Greenberg paints a pretty well balanced picture of how Aquaculture and our last wild caught food source will coexist in the future with better technology and management.

Our market still specializes in wild caught fish but we do sell a few good quality farmed fish like salmon, catfish, tilapia, and I’ll tell ya, our Greek Lavraki (Bronzini) is really a great fish! We love whole fish that are small enough to handle on a grill, to fit in a steamer, a pan or wrapped in parchment paper. Wild native fish of manageable size like snapper, porgy, black bass and the close relative of Bronzini—Striped Bass—are all wonderful, but not always consistent in size and availability. Farm raised Striped Bass are in the nice 1 to 2 lb. Range but they’re a hybrid cross between a freshwater white bass and a saltwater striped bass and, in my opinion, lack in the flavor of a wild Striper or a Bronzini.

The Bronzini have a bone structure that’s easy to navigate, a buttery texture and a sweet delicate flavor. It’s a perfect fish for a whole fish novice and, like the yellowtail snapper from last week’s report, you slowly enjoy every part from the cheeks and collar on down.

My first dining experience with these fish was in a fishing village in the Basque region of Spain. Overlooking a beautiful little harbor watching the fisherman mending their nets, the colorful boats, even a big fishing vessel right off shore with small tenders bringing in, I think, anchovies . We were in heaven. After sitting down at a small outdoor cafe that was grilling fish we ordered a couple of simple whole grilled Robalo (Bronzini) a nice local wine, bread and a local delicious salad. Absolutely fantastic! After assuming that the Robalo was caught by the fisherman we were watching below us, I was a bit surprised to find that the fish we had just eaten for dinner was farm raised, probably in Greece just like most of the sea bass eaten in Europe. I still thought it was fantastic and it was a meal we’ll never forget.

Try a simple grilled Bronzini this weekend. It just might be one of those unforgettable meals.

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The WHOLE Fish (and nothing but the fish)

Thursday, June 17th, 2010 | posted by mike

Ever prepare a whole grilled bronzini or a whole steamed walleye or black sea bass with ginger garlic scallions and maybe some black bean sauce? How about a whole baked snapper Vera Cruz with the famous tomato, green chili sauce or grilled orata stuffed with fennel? Ever taste the sweet, succulence of a whole grilled sardine with coarse salt and a good olive oil, or laid out a whole poached salmon served at room temperature with a cucumber yogurt dill sauce? Would you like to mix up the flavor and textures of a grilled trout with lemons, herbs and wrapped in pancetta? Have you experienced the satisfaction of whacking a whole salt-encrusted roasted bluefish and savored the moist richness trapped inside?

VIDEO: How to Roast a WHOLE Bluefish in Salt.

Pablo Picasso photographed by David Douglas Duncan

Pablo Picasso photographed by David Douglas Duncan

Many of us have “bone phobia” and wouldn’t dream of attempting to prepare the whole fish at home, but a little practice with a butter knife or a spoon and soon you’ll see that the fish will almost fillet itself as you gently slide the meat off the bone. If you pull the fins off the small bones under the fins will follow. The rib bones can be a little tricky but just take your time and the meat between them will be worth the effort.

Here are just a few advantages of serving the whole fish:

Flavor. Ever notice the extra flavor of a whole chicken that comes with roasting along with the fat in the bones and skin? It’s the same for fish.

Value. There’s more to a fish than just the two fillets! The head with the cheeks and collar have lots of extra meat.

Health. The fat in fish is where all the good stuff is. The head and belly are the richest parts of the fish—containing the most goodness, flavor and healthful Omega 3 fats. The bones of small whole fish such as smelt, sardine and anchovies are full of calcium.

Beauty. There’s nothing more beautiful or aesthetically pleasing than a simply garnished and perfectly presented whole fish on a platter.

The Ritual. The process of serving and eating the whole fish is like a special celebration. It forces you to take your time and appreciate, enjoy and savor every part of the fish.

Variety of Flavor & Textures. In China, the lady of the house is often served the cheeks because it really is the best part—firm textured, almost like a scallop. All the meat around the head has lots of flavor and texture going on. There is a nice chunk of firm (often darker) meat under the pectoral fin. The belly is always rich and you can work you way back to the leaner tail section.

At Monahan’s we’re always offering our customers lots of whole fish with recipes and ideas for every cooking method. Whether you’ve been eating fish off the bone your whole life or you’re a novice who wants to enhance your quality of life, we’ve got a fish for you. Come in and we’ll make it easy!

See you at the market!