Monkfish Paprikash

Chicken paprikash is a traditional meal in Hungarian cuisine, and it is one of my favorite comfort classics. Since my life now revolves around the sea, I wanted to try this preparation as a seafood dish, and I chose monkfish. Sometimes called “sea devil,” because of its frightening appearance, monkfish is a meaty fish that can withstand a longer cooking time without falling apart.

I am a huge fan of this fish, and it fits perfectly with this hearty meal. Known as the “poor man’s lobster,” monkfish has a firm texture and rich, buttery taste. This fish is plentiful along the New England coast, so I can get the fresh, local catch here in Boston. The unique character of this fish is that the “fillet” actually comes from the tail.

To get the most flavor out of this dish, I highly recommend using Hungarian paprika if you can find it. Your taste buds will thank you. I served this paprikash over packaged egg noodles, but it would probably be even better if you make homemade spaetzle or dumplings.


  • 2 pounds monkfish tails
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 large yellow onion, diced
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 cup (4 tablespoons) sweet Hungarian paprika
  • 1 (15-ounce) can diced tomatoes
  • 2 cups fish stock
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 8 ounces sour cream, at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Egg noodles or homemade spaetzle, to serve
  • Freshly chopped parsley leaves, to serve (optional)
  1. Season monkfish all over with salt and pepper. Melt butter in a deep sauté pan over medium-high heat. When butter is frothy, add monkfish tails and sear until brown on both sides, about 4 minutes per side. Remove the fish from the pan and set aside on a plate.
  2. Reduce heat to medium. Add onions to the pan and sauté until translucent, about 5-7 minutes.
  3. Reduce heat to low. Stir in garlic and cook for 1-2 minutes more. Sprinkle paprika over the garlic and onions and stir for 1-2 minutes allowing the spice to bloom and turn to a paste.
  4. Pour the whole can of tomatoes with the juices into the pan and stir to combine. Stir in fish stock and then bring to a boil. Reduce heat enough to just maintain a simmer.
  5. Return monkfish to the pan and simmer for about 20 minutes, flipping the fish over after the first 10 minutes.
  6. Remove monkfish from the pan and set it on a cutting board to rest for about 5 minutes while you finish the sauce.
  7. Mix flour, sour cream, and heavy cream in a small bowl until it is well combined and smooth. Remove the sauté pan from heat and add the sour cream mixture. Stir until fully incorporated.
  8. Slice monkfish and divide it among bowls of noodles or dumplings. Top monkfish with the sauce and sprinkle with chopped parsley, if using.