The Occasion: A nicer than usual home-cooked dinner with the spouse. Sometimes you want to do it up right, make a special occasion for your nearest and dearest. When you’ve got the luxury of time, putting in a little extra effort for the ones you love best is well worth it.
The Recipe: I went trolling the internet for yummy-sounding recipes that stood out from the rest. So many fish recipes are wonderfully simple and straightforward – that’s usually what I’m after, but this time I wanted to hone in on stand-out flavors and textures. This recipe from Hawaiian chef and cookbook author Beverly Gannon, featured on the Food Network site, fit the bill.
What Makes It Special: Between the crust of chopped nuts, the spicy mayo, and the decadent butter sauce, this recipe is nothing but special. The rich accompaniments provide the perfect foil for the meaty texture and mild flavor of the wahoo fish which also goes by the name ono.
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Recipe only slightly adapted from: Beverly Gannon's The Hali'imaile General Store Cookbook (Ten Speed Press, 2000) via Food Network
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh or frozen mango
- 1/2 cup dry white wine
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1 teaspoon peeled and minced fresh ginger
- Juice of 2 limes
- 1/4 cup milk, half and half, or heavy cream
- 1/3 cup cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 cup cashews or macadamia nuts, whole or pieces
- 2 cups panko (Japanese bread crumbs)
- 1/2 cup fresh basil or a mix of fresh herbs (I used oregano, basil, parsley, and thyme)
- 1/2 cup good-quality mayonnaise
- 2 teaspoons (or more, to taste) Sriracha (Thai garlic-chile paste)
- 6 (6-ounce) ono or wahoo fillets
- Canola oil, for sauteing
- Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
- Prepare the mango-lime butter: In a saucepan, combine the mango, wine, sugar, ginger, and lime juice and simmer over medium heat for 5 minutes, until thick and syrupy.
- Add the milk or cream, mix well, and remove from the heat.
- Pour into a blender and blend until smooth.
- Return to the saucepan and simmer over low heat for 8 minutes, until the mixture thickens slightly.
- Add the butter, a piece at a time, and stir until incorporated before adding the next piece. Be careful not to boil the sauce, or it will separate. Season with salt and pepper and keep warm.
- Prepare the coating for the fish: Place the nuts, panko, and herbs in a food processor and process until fine.
- Spread on a plate.
- In a small bowl, combine the mayonnaise and chile paste and mix well.
- Lightly season the fish with salt and pepper.
- Evenly spread a light coat of the chile mayonnaise on one side of each fish fillet. Coat the same side evenly with the coating.
- NOTE: We opted to coat 3 sides of each fillet with the tasty topping. The 4th side (with skin) remained un-crusted.
- Cook the fish: In an ovenproof sauté pan or skillet, pour in just enough oil to coat the bottom and heat over medium heat. (Be careful not to heat the pan too hot or the nuts will burn.) Add the fish, crust side down, and sauté for 3 minutes, until golden brown.
- Turn the fish and then place the pan in the oven for 5 minutes, until cooked through and firm to the touch. (Cook time will vary depending on the thickness of the fish fillets; mine took closer to 10 minutes to cook through.)
- Place the fillets on warmed individual places. Serve with the mango-lime butter sauce.