Monkfish Cheeks and Photography

I’ve worked for over 30 years, mostly in American Embassies around the world.  While I can’t say that my career has been unpleasant, it’s true that I never brought the same passion to that work as that that I have felt in the last 3 months of cooking and photographing my food.  There probably is no lucrative career of cooking and photographing your food but if there is, I really screwed up!  I don’t mind going to restaurants and photographing the food there, but my real delight is in photographing the food that I make, in an attempt to tempt my visitors and for the pleasure of having learnt to use a camera after over 50 years.    Thanks Roger.

It’s not just the cooking and pushing the button, but also the mise en scene of the food, plate and accessories that challenges one’s capacity for creativity.  This is so much fun! Below I took a picture of the set up for the pictures of the salsa and remoulade sauce.  I call this a Roger picture because I took it by turning the camera vertically, a position I’m not comfortable with but that Roger loves.  Notice my corner shelf back drop and my antique Swiss chair sitting on top of the table bringing the plate to eye level.  Roger taught me this eye level thing and everything else.

Jade and I found some lotte (monkfish) fish cheeks in the market yesterday and thought we would try to see what could be done with them.  I found a likely coating for frying the cheeks at and we definitely wanted to try them with the pear salsa that I made a while ago.

We were also craving Dave’s Creole sauce remoulade

While I was waiting for Jade to come back from mass before frying the cheeks, I practiced with my EF 12II lens extension.  I’ll have to work up to the EF 25II that is so powerful that you could probably see an ant give birth (if that’s what they do) but I’m still shaky with my EF 12.  Yellow cherry tomatoes and a green chilli.

Monkfish Cheeks with Pear Salsa and Creole Remoulade

1 lb monkfish cheeks, cut in half

1/4 cup milk

1 egg

1 tsp garlic powder

1/2 tsp black pepper

1/2 tsp paprika

1/4 cup bread crumbs

1/2 cup flour

Peanut oil for frying

Beat the egg and milk together and set aside.   Mix the garlic powder, pepper, paprika, bread crumb and flour in a large bowl.  Dip the cheeks first in the milk and then in the seasoned flour.  Fry until golden brown.  Serve with pear salsa and creole remoulade.

About cookinginsens

An American living in Burgundy, France
This entry was posted in American, Cooking, fish, Food and Wine, Main dishes, Recipes and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

19 Responses to Monkfish Cheeks and Photography

  1. Pictures look great. I’ve seen monkfish cheeks at our fancy fishmonger too, keen to give them a try! YUM.

  2. ceciliag says:

    My favourite shot is the unconventional one of the yellow tomatoes and the chilli, I think your purple fabric really brought out the glow in the tomatoes. Lovely palette. c

  3. Once something becomes a vocation, no matter how much you love it, it will at some point feel like work. Your photos are great.

  4. Fay says:

    Uh oh. Hungry again after seeing today’s pics. Still learning to use my camera, but already it is clear that poor natural light in the late afternoon kitchen and dining area is going to be an issue in trying to take attractive food photos. May have to cart finished dishes to a room on the west side of the house, stage a table top, and take the photos there. Wondering if this is really going to happen. Learning so much from your photos.

    • I know Fay. I had that problem and spent months running up and down the stairs chasing the light. But now I have a permanent setup in front of a small window by the fireplace. The light is best there from 10 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. I try to cook early. If I can’t, I’m just learning to overexpose my pictures a bit.
      For a jumpstart in photography, consider taking a 3-5 day class with Roger. A good way to check out Root’s France and see what he has to say about Vendee. My book should be here anyday now.

  5. Love monkfish but have not cooked just the cheeks before, great idea! Food photography is really a great creative outlet and definitely more fun than most office jobs 😀 (including my hedge fund job)

  6. this looks great… love your photography

  7. You just go from strength to strength. i think Veuve Cliquot may be a little extreme for cod cheeks, but I’d be happy to try it. Love the portrait/vertical/portrait shot – it looks really strong.

  8. baobabs says:

    stunning photos!!! love fish cheeks but never had monkfish cheeks this way!

  9. joshuafagans says:

    Lovely post. So glad to hear that you are having so much fun and just love the results.

  10. The Cook says:

    Very impressive images of beautifully put-together food! And I really enjoyed the photo schooling. I am working on managing my cooking time to maximize on natural light now. The monkfish cheeks look fabulous — I am drooling. Definitely going to keep an eye out for cheeks, thank you!!

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