After going way too long without getting my hands on some fresh wahoo (aka ono), I ended up with two fresh batches in under a month – a completely unexpected score. If you read my article a few weeks back (Ono Au Poivre), you saw that my buddy John Park from Fish 101 gave me some that he speared off the Southern Baja peninsula. That went down quickly and, as luck would have it, a new friend returned from a long-range trip on the Royal Polaris. After helping him for a few hours, he was gracious enough to hand off one of the nicer wahoo in the pile, along with a beautiful yellowfin tuna that went over 100 pounds, which was used in last week’s smoked ahi recipe. This fresh ono will be used for this Mediterranean wahoo recipe.
As I stated before, ono is my favorite fish based on the overall diversity it provides. I still prefer the raw preparations, but I’ve continued to try and provide you BD Outdoors readers with some unique recipes that you may not otherwise come up with on your own. That said, whenever you dive into my recipes, feel free to tweak them into whatever inspires you and make them your own. In my eyes, cooking really has no rules – just suggestions. Everyone’s palate is different.
Next Recipe: Spicy Maple Smoked Ahi Tuna
Until now, we’ve covered domestic, Asian, Hawaiian, and French recipes, so this week I’m jumping on a Mediterranean how-to. A Mediterranean diet is one of the most healthful in the world, so it won’t hurt to learn a dish that is good for you and tastes amazing. And if there are ingredients that you’re not a fan of, feel free to substitute alternatives, or simply leave them out. Lastly, if you know someone that typically doesn’t like tomatoes, this could be the recipe that breaks down that barrier. The sweet acidity of the smaller cherry tomatoes and the caramelization (and even char) from the roasting pan is a key element in this dish.
Recipe: Mediterranean Ono / Wahoo with Polenta
- Fillets of wahoo/ono cut into individual portions
- 1TBSP oil and butter
- Cyprus flake salt and fresh cracked pepper
- 1 TBSP Herbs de Provence
- 3 TBSP Mediterranean olive oil
- 1 whole shallot - minced
- 2 cloves of garlic - minced
- 1-2 dozen cherry or grape tomatoes - halved
- 2-3 TBSP kalamata olives - rough chopped
- 2-3 TBSP capers - rough chopped
- 1 TBSP herbs de provence
- 1 Tsp red chili flakes
- Finishing garnish of fresh basil and lemon wedges
- Creamy Polenta:
- 1 box of polenta
- Hot water - follow instructions on polenta packaging
- 3 TBSP butter (add cream or half-and-half if desired)
- 1/4 cup vegetable broth/stock
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 -2 crusty baguettes (hot)
- Butter on the side, or EVOO & balsamic vinegar combo
- Start by cutting the ono into individual portions. Make sure all skin is off and pieces are clean and patted dry. Let it come to room temperature.
- Mince/chop all topping ingredients, except basil and lemon, which will be done just prior to serving.
- On a baking dish/pan mix all topping ingredients and Mediterranean olive oil, so everything is incorporated. It’s ok to be generous with the oil because it’s high quality, binds everything together, and prevents burning.
- Season the ono and roll it into the mixture, making sure to top the fish with a spoonful or two on each piece. This helps flavor the fish and keep it moist.
- Part of the allure of this dish is the caramelization and char from roasting, so I crank the heat up to 400F and check it after about 12 minutes. Timing really depends on the size of your fish cuts, so just make sure you don’t overcook it. If your topping is well caramelized/charred, but the fish is not done, drop the heat to 350F and do the remainder of the cook slowly, so the topping doesn’t burn.
- While the fish is in the oven, add the polenta to your hot water slowly… a little bit at a time. Adding it too quickly makes it clump together, which isn’t appetizing. Add seasoning, butter and stock and incorporate until smooth. It should be the consistency of oatmeal, so if it’s thick/dry, add the cream or half and half. If you don’t want all that dairy, add more stock (or water and additional seasoning).
- Heat up your baguette, gently cut your fresh basil leaves into ribbons and cut your lemon wedges.
- Once everything is ready to go, plate your polenta, place the fish and mixture over the top, and scatter the fresh basil to finish. Add your lemon wedges and warm baguette and serve.