Pan-Seared Wahoo
with Beet Tzatziki or Blender Hollandaise

wahoo 2

Seafood consumers and local chefs alike love the versatility of this mild, dense yet flaky, whitefish that most often appears as a steak, instead of a fillet. It’s thick, meaty, tender and moist, yet somehow delicate at the same time.

One of the secrets to perfectly cooked wahoo is to remove it from the heat before it reaches the level of doneness you would like to have on the plate. If you remove wahoo from the flames when it is undercooked, it will continue to cook-through as it rests under a tent of aluminum foil. After about 5 minutes, the fish should be perfect. Overcooked wahoo is a crying shame, so pulling it from the fire too soon is always preferable to too late. You can always cook it longer if it’s not to your liking; try pulling it from the heat source when the internal temperature reaches 120 degrees.

The thick steaks are also perfect for grilling, broiling or wrapping in foil with a few thin slices of Mattamuskeet sweet onion, summer tomato and a bit of salt and pepper and baking over a campfire. Wa-hoo!

Pan-Seared Wahoo

2 steaks fresh wahoo

2 tablespoons grapeseed oil

2 tablespoons real butter

¼ cup unbleached all purpose flour

sea salt

cracked black pepper

cast iron skillet or saute/fry pan

Gently pat the wahoo dry using a paper towel. Just before you put into pan, season with a bit of sea salt and pepper.

Begin heating your skillet to medium high heat. Add oil and butter and swirl around in pan to cover bottom.

Put your flour in a vessel that is large enough to hold one piece of wahoo. Gently move the fish, one at a time, around in the flour to cover. Turn it over. Coat the whole fillet. Shake gently to remove excess. Ease the fish into the foamy, hot skillet. You should hear a little sizzle. Repeat with the other piece of wahoo.

When you think it is time to turn, check the fish by gently lifting with a spatula. If you have the brown sear you desire, turn the fish, if not, leave it alone.

When both sides of fish have sufficient sear, remove from the pan. Remember that most fish continue to come up in temperature after they are removed from the pan. Be sure to test for doneness to your preference before completely removing from pan, while also removing it just before it is perfect.

Plate fish with hot pink tzatziki sauce or the blender hollandaise, pour a nice bottle of white and savor your good fortune at eating freshly caught North Carolina wahoo.

Beet Tzatziki

3-4 medium size beets

2 large cloves minced garlic

Juice of ½ lemon or dash red wine vinegar (or both!)

1½ cups plain whole-milk yogurt, preferably Greek-style

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons fresh dill

Sea Salt

Black pepper

Steam, boil or roast beets until tender. Cool, remove skin and grate.

Mix all ingredients together, chill and serve aside pan-seared wahoo. This can be made up to three days ahead of time.

Blender Hollandaise

3 egg yolks

juice of half lemon

1/2 tsp. sea salt

dash of cayenne pepper

3/4 cup butter

Put egg yolks, lemon juice, salt and cayenne in blender. Heat butter until bubbly. Do not burn. Cover blender and whirl at high speed for 2 or 3 seconds. Remove center section of cover and pour in hot butter in a thin, steady stream. Make sure you do this while the blender running. It will take about 30 seconds. Taste and add more lemon or salt if needed.

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