MonkeyFace Ceviche

Epic mealtime ideas

MonkeyFace Ceviche

Postby BigJim » July 8th, 2014, 1:27 pm

Ceviche is a dish that I think most people know, and everybody has their own favorite way to do it.

My method is really nothing fancy, but I figured I would share how I make it out of the flesh of the mighty MonkeyFace Prickleback.

Monkeys often get a bad rap, but I love em...I think they are fun to look for in shallow holes and cracks, are beautiful in their own ugly way, and have a firm, white versatile meat. Course...some folks say the meat is too tough and they taste like iodine, but everybody has different tastes. :)

I think Monkey meat makes great ceviche cuz the meat is so firm that it hold up really well to soaking in lemon/lime juice and doesn't dissolve or disentegrate or get mushy at all.

So...first of all, go out and shoot a monkey or several monkeys or a barrel of monkeys...



I gut the monkeys ASAP cuz they are herbivorous as adults and their bellies are often stuffed full of rotting kelp/algae that can be quite stinky.

Once home, I skin the monkeys by scoring them behind the head and then using pliers to rip the skin off each side.









Once they are skinned, the meat will be very easy to filet off the backbone.





Then chop the meat up into cubes...the meat freezes fine, but to be honest I have never found a worm in a monkey, and I think since they are primarily herbivores as adults that they really don't get the parasties that you often see in other NorCal fish. So, I do make ceviche out of them without freezing first, but to be totaly safe you can vacuum seal and freeze first.



Then chop your other ingredients and get your citrus juice ready. I use cilantro, roma tomatoes, jalapeno, and red onion.

I pour enough half lemon and half lime juice to cover the fish in a glass bowl. Then I cover with saran wrap and put in fridge overnight or at least for a few hours until the meat turns white. Then I drain off the initial juice. This helps make sure that any possible funky flavors from the meat get taken out.



Then I add the other chopped ingredients, some more fresh lemon and lime juice to keep it juicy and give it a nice crisp taste, some tabasco, sea salt and pepper to taste and serve with nice chips and cold beer.



So, if you're hole hunting and come across a pair of beady monkey eyes staring back at you...go ahead and blast him and bring him home and serve him up...I bet you'll like it.

:obscene-drinkingcheers:

:greetings-wavingyellow:

Sincerely,

Jim
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Re: MonkeyFace Ceviche

Postby AJP » July 8th, 2014, 1:48 pm

Sweet! I'd try that.

Sheepshead is another good candidate for ceviche. At least the bigger ones that is, because the bigger ones don't seem to do that well cooked, in my humble opinion.
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Re: MonkeyFace Ceviche

Postby VangysWay » July 8th, 2014, 2:04 pm

That looks phenomenal... thanks for sharing! Any thoughts on how you think Morays would fare as a substitute for the Monkey Eel?
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Re: MonkeyFace Ceviche

Postby BigJim » July 8th, 2014, 2:16 pm

VangysWay wrote:Any thoughts on how you think Morays would fare as a substitute for the Monkey Eel?


I've never shot a Moray so really can't say...I would assUme that it would have a similar texture as a monkey since eels are a pretty muscular fish?? :confusion-shrug:

I've shot a few big wolf eels but have never made a ceviche out of them...and if I remember right their meat was not quite as firm as the monkeys?

Here are some pics of how I cooked the last Wolf Eel I shot:

http://www.norcalkayakanglers.com/index ... #msg526727

:greetings-wavingyellow:

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Jim
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Re: MonkeyFace Ceviche

Postby ApneaAddict » July 8th, 2014, 4:52 pm

Looks great, Jim! How does it compare in flavor to other species you made into ceviche?

VangysWay wrote:That looks phenomenal... thanks for sharing! Any thoughts on how you think Morays would fare as a substitute for the Monkey Eel?


Monkeyface and wolf eels both have a reputation for being good eating. I don't believe morays share that reputation. Also, something all eels seem to have in common is being very difficult to kill after shooting them. Unlike the monkeyface, though, morays have huge nasty teeth and an angry disposition. I don't think I would shoot a moray.
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Re: MonkeyFace Ceviche

Postby VangysWay » July 8th, 2014, 5:02 pm

ApneaAddict wrote: Monkeyface and wolf eels both have a reputation for being good eating. I don't believe morays share that reputation. Another thing they have in common is being very difficult to kill after shooting them. Another difference is that morays have huge nasty teeth and an angry disposition. I don't think I would shoot a moray.


Haha yeah, I had a friend shoot one a while back... It was quite the fiasco to say the least.... Easily the most indestructable creature I have ever encountered... it was more of a curiousity question... I don't think someone could pay me to shoot one, between actually getting it to die and then having to deal with that leather skin, I'd rather harvest an Opaleye :bowrofl:
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Re: MonkeyFace Ceviche

Postby BigJim » July 9th, 2014, 7:51 am

ApneaAddict wrote:Looks great, Jim! How does it compare in flavor to other species you made into ceviche?



To be honest dude...I only make ceviche when the family requests it cuz I find it is a LOT of work compared to just cooking the fish!! Gotta chop all the meat, dice all the veggies, squeeze all the juice etc, etc, etc... :ugh:

The only other fish I have used for a ceviche was a nice Ling that fuzz gifted me one day and the Honduran inlaws were in town and all wanted ceviche...it was good, but I would have much rather just cooked the filets for them. ;)

The Ling flavor was better I guess than the monkey (hard to tell really with all the other ceviche flavors going on :confusion-shrug: ) but I do personally prefer the firm monkey texture in the ceviche.

But, of course, I'd take a fat Ling and it's filets over a slimy monkey any day of the week... :handgestures-thumbupleft:

Except of course if said Monkey will result in a piece of paper saying that I once actually beat fuzz in something.

;)




:rofl: :laughing-rollingred:

:greetings-wavingyellow:

Sincerely,

Jim
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Re: MonkeyFace Ceviche

Postby nightdiver » July 11th, 2014, 11:49 am

Safe to say this guy knows what he's doing!
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Re: MonkeyFace Ceviche

Postby SCspear831 » July 12th, 2014, 6:39 pm

I recently found out that Monkeyface pricklebacks actually aren't in the same family as eels, it's just a common name. Same with wolf "eels". Monkeyface and wolfs are just eel-like fishes.

True eels lack pectoral fins , and have different gill openings.
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Re: MonkeyFace Ceviche

Postby SCspear831 » July 12th, 2014, 6:57 pm

Also, I hope nobody jumps on me for saying this but..

Wolf eel pairs mate for life, are fairly intelligent and are long-lived fish.

So shooting one is gonna end reproduction abilities in 2 fish. For these reasons I couldn't shoot one..

Please understand i'm not trying to dog you on shooting wolf eels, it's totally your right to do so, i just wanted to put the info out there so you are informed the next time you consider pulling the trigger on one..

ceviche looks delicious though, thanks for posting up the recipe!
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Re: MonkeyFace Ceviche

Postby BigJim » July 13th, 2014, 6:39 am

Yep, monkeyfaces are part of the prickleback family. :)

Yeah, I've taken 2 wolf eels and let the last ones I saw live to make up for it. There were two together in one crack and decided to let the couple live and continue mating and making more wolf eels for the area.

http://jacksonkayak.com/blog/2014/02/05 ... eft-alone/

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Re: MonkeyFace Ceviche

Postby surfdoc1 » July 16th, 2014, 6:11 pm

Do you spear the monkey face eels or poke pole fish them ? How do they taste cooked?
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Re: MonkeyFace Ceviche

Postby BigJim » July 17th, 2014, 10:13 am

surfdoc1 wrote:Do you spear the monkey face eels or poke pole fish them ? How do they taste cooked?


I spear them....

You can see me shoot the current State Diving Record one here:

http://youtu.be/UZbugFsz1zc

I think they fry up great for fish tacos. :handgestures-thumbupleft:

They are also becoming more and more popular at some higher end resaturants in the SF Bay Area, in large part due to MonkeyFace master Kirk Lombard who holds the hook and line record and inspired my monkey love:

http://www.sfgate.com/restaurants/artic ... 371280.php

:greetings-wavingyellow:

Sincerely,

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Re: MonkeyFace Ceviche

Postby BigJim » September 20th, 2016, 10:48 am

Stoked to say that my Monkey Ceviche recipe made its way into Kirk "Monkeyface" Lombard's new book "The Sea Forager’s Guide to the Northern California Coast".

:handgestures-thumbupleft:









https://heydaybooks.com/book/the-sea-fo ... nia-coast/

Kirk is one of my heroes, and holds the current CA State Angling Record for Monkeyface, and inspired my love for the mighty Monkey.

The book is really cool and I am honored and humbled that I was able to contribute even a tiny bit.

:greetings-wavingyellow:

Sincerely,

Jim
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Re: MonkeyFace Ceviche

Postby capo » September 20th, 2016, 12:25 pm

That's great Jim. I got a copy of the book and very happy with it.
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Re: MonkeyFace Ceviche

Postby AJP » September 20th, 2016, 6:55 pm

Congrats Jim! :handgestures-thumbupright: :handgestures-thumbupleft:
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