In season: Opah fish

Grabbing my attention at the fish counter at Whole Foods I found fresh Opah, aka moonfish, aka sunfish, aka kingfish, and aka Jerusalem haddock.  [Unrelated tangent: In Greek, “opa” is roughly translated as “hell-to-the-yes!” and is often shouted before and after consuming a disgusting shot of ouzo.]  So many nicknames for this deep water ocean fish usually found swimming near Alaska.  You might recall (if you’re a food dork like me) that Mario Batali once beat challenger Tony Liu in an opah battle on Iron Chef.  He won, naturally, because he’s Mario Batali.

Back to opah, aka whatever-you-want-to-call-it.  Opah is a white fleshed fish with a texture similar to halibut and a slightly sweet yet mild flavor.  Mild means that you can dress it up any way you’d like.  One of my favorite ways to have fish is to season with salt, pepper, and olive oil and fry it in a saute pan until “GBD” (Le Cordon Bleu speak for golden brown and delicious) then finish it off in a 400 degree oven.  This method is foolproof for nearly any type of fish.  In the summer I like to take advantage of the bounty of fruit available and top my fish with salsa or chutney.  For the opah I went with mango salsa: mangoes, cilantro, red or green onion, jalapeno, lime juice.  Easy.

Opah dinner ingredients For sides I sauteed baby bok choy, then cooked up quinoa (it’s a superfood, high in the good-for-you-category and a cinch to cook) with roasted mini heirloom tomatoes.

The fish was the star.  Clean, fresh flavors for a light meal that paired very nicely with our 2009 Carr Pinot Gris from Turner Vineyard in the Sta. Rita Hills.  The wine had a bright acidity and floral finish that didn’t upset the citrus salsa with the fish.

Healthy meal of fish + veggies = happy brain and happy belly, leaving plenty of splurge room for wine.  Win win.


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