The WHOLE Fish (and Nothing but the Fish)

Monahan's Seafood Market | Fresh Whole Fish, Fillets, Shellfish, Recipes, Catering & Lunch Counter-Ann Arbor, Michigan

Ever prepare a whole grilled bronzino or a whole steamed walleye or black sea bass with ginger, garlic, scallions and some black bean sauce? How about a whole baked snapper Veracruz with the famous tomato, green chili sauce or crispy Sichuan New Zealand snapper? Maybe 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 pancetta wrapped grilled rainbow trout with tomato corn salsa? 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.


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, sardines 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 picasso-eating-fishhead has a lot of flavor and texture. There is a nice chunk of firm (often darker) meat under the pectoral fin. The belly is always rich and you can work your 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! We have a beautiful selection of whole fish in today, including whole day boat schrod cod!

Monahan's Seafood

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