Search This Blog

Friday, September 16, 2011


Menu Notes:

  • Serve with Smashing Cauliflower.
  • Don't eat opah too often, as it has very high mercury contamination--we just discovered this fact on the Monterey Bay Aquarium web site. Mahi mahi is a reasonable alternative.

The Ingredients (for two people):
  • 0.5 kg (or 1 lb) of fresh opah (moonfish) fillet, about 2.5 cm (or 1 in) thick—or substitute any fish with firm, sweet flesh that steams well
  • A 6-cm (or 2.5-in) piece of young ginger root
  • 5 scallions
  • 250 ml (or 1 cup) of loosely packed cilantro leaves
  • 50 ml (or 3 Tbsp) of white wine
  • 50 ml (or 3 Tbsp) of cooking grade olive oil
  • Salt
  • White pepper

The Method:
A handy implement for lifting a bowl
out of a hot steamer
  1. Wash the opah fillets, pat dry with paper towels, and place them in a shallow bowl that will fit into a steamer.
  2. Salt the fillets lightly, add finely ground white pepper to taste, and pour wine and olive oil over them.
  3. Turn the fillets over in the bowl a few times to distribute the marinade evenly.
  4. Place the bowl in the refrigerator for 30 min.
  5. Wash and peel the ginger root, and chop roughly.
  6. Wash the scallions, and chop roughly.
  7. Wash the cilantro.
  8. Make a finely ground mixture of these three ingredients in a blender or similar appliance.
  9. Spread the mixture thickly across the top of the marinated fillets, then place the bowl in the top section of the steamer.
  10. Boil water in the bottom part of the steamer, then position the opah over it, and cover with the lid.
  11. Steam for 6 min and check for doneness. This dish is best when the fish is only just cooked, i.e., the flesh is glistening, whitish, opalescent, with a slight pinkness in the thickest part of the fillet.
  12. Remove from the steamer immediately and serve from the cooking bowl.
The Story:

The opah was a delicate pink, obviously fresh, and had been packed that very day. What was opah? How should I prepare it? We bought the flat of fillets and I Googled for the answers to my questions.
Opah is also known as "moonfish", and is native to the waters around Hawai'i and Fiji—and perhaps other parts of the Pacific Ocean.
Of the recipes that I found, I was intrigued by one in particular, attributed to Sam Choy, a Hawaiian chef, in his book "With Sam Choy: Cooking From the Heart". I adapted the recipe to our own tastes and specifications, omitting the cream sauce and increasing the amount of "ginger pesto".
We discovered that opah takes well to steaming in this manner. It is firm enough to serve but wonderfully tender; its taste is mild, and as long as the seasonings don't overpower it, you could experiment with many different tastes; leftovers are still delicious the next day, either cold or gently reheated.

No comments:

Post a Comment