Saturday, June 16, 2018

Blackened Wahoo

As the story goes, European explorers who reached the Hawaiian islands noted the abundance of a steel blue, slender fish whose quick speed allowed it to chase down fish and squid.  Once the explorers reached the island, they asked the natives for the name.  "Oahu."  The European explorers replied, "wahoo?"  Needless to say, the island retained its name of Oahu, while the "wahoo" moniker was saved for that abundant fish that swam the nearby waters.

The story is probably just fiction.  Let's turn to a few facts.  First, the wahoo is a member of the scombridae, a family of fish that include mackerels, tunas and bonito.  Of all of those fish, the wahoo is probably the closest relative to the king mackerel.  Second, the wahoo is caught using longline and handlines, as well as hook and line, methods.  These are the methods typically used to catch tuna, marlin and swordfish. Once caught, the average wahoo weighs between 8 to 30 pounds, although some could be as large as 100 pounds.  

I have never had the opportunity to fish for wahoo, as I have not yet had the opportunity to fish out on the ocean.  Nevertheless, I have been able to "hunt" for the fish at the counter of the local seafood market.  I found some fresh wahoo fillets at the local market during our vacation.  I was eager to get the fish and cook with it, because it is extremely difficult to find it where I live.  So, I bought a couple of fillets to make a dish for my beautiful Angel and my inlaws. The only question was what recipe to make with those fillets.  

As one would expect, wahoo can be cooked much in the way one would cook tuna or swordfish.  The fillets have a mild texture, with large, circular flakes, and much less of a blood line than their other relatives.  Wahoo can be cooked using any of the typical methods: baking, broiling, frying, grilling, poaching or sauteing.  I decided to make a blackened wahoo.  I separated out the large round flakes so that everyone had one large round of blackened fish and then blackened the remaining pieces to served along the round.  The blackening spice is one of my traditional go-to mixes, which worked very well with this fish.  The texture of the fish stood up to the high heat of the pan and kept its form for service.  Overall, this was a great first recipe with wahoo.  

A Chef Bolek Original
Serves 4

1 pound of wahoo steaks (2 steaks, bloodline removed)
1 tablespoon ground garlic powder
1 tablespoon ground onion powder
1 tablespoon ground paprika powder
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika powder
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon ground ancho chile powder
1/2 teaspoon dried chipotle chile powder
Few dashes of ground cumin powder
1 teaspoon salt
5 tablespoons olive oil

1.  Prepare the blackened spice mix.  Combine the garlic powder, onion powder, paprika powder, smoked paprika powder, thyme, chile powders, cumin powder and salt.

2. Prepare the wahoo steaks.  Add 3 tablespoons of the olive oil to a bowl.  Add the wahoo and toss gently to coat.  Add the blacked spice mix until all sides of the steaks are coated.

3.  Cook the wahoo steaks.  Heat a pan with the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil over high heat until the oil is almost smoking.  Add the wahoo steaks and sear the steaks on every side, about 2 minutes per side.


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