cooking opah questions
Opah is one of the fattiest fish around, even more so than King Salmon.
Most Hawaiians I know either bake it or encrust it in panko and fry/saute it.
I've also had opah as sashimi, which I really didn't take to all that well. Would've prefered a nice piece of sake instead.
Personally, I think grilling or searing it rare (a la tuna) is the way to go because the flesh is so rich and creamy -- very much like ahi in that respect.
Last month while on vacation on Kauai I bought a piece of opah from a reputable fish market. When it was raw, the 1 lb piece of fish was extremely firm, which I noticed at the time of purchase but didn't think too much about until later. I mean you could hold it by one edge and it would not flop or sag. It was thicker at one edge and thinner at the other, making it seem like a tail piece, but certainly not a center cut. I grilled it on a hot grill for 7 minutes a side. It was very firm to the touch at that point and I took it off the grill thinking I had probably over cooked it. When we went to eat it, we had to hack and saw with great force to even cut off a piece. It was awful. I took it back to the store the next day and they told me it was raw on the inside and I hadn't cooked it properly. I did not get into a dicussion with them about how to properly cook it, just telling them what I did and they said I had undercooked it and it would get softer and more tender as it cooked longer on the grill. That sounded really wrong to me, but maybe I'm just ignorant about how to cook opah. I know that certainly is not true for ahi and fish like that. I thought all proteins got more firm the more well done they are.
I asked the fish market if the fish was fresh or frozen and they insisted it was fresh.
For what its worth, I had some really poor quality ahi there on a plate lunch the same day, it was battered and it was definitely pre cooked and rewarmed. It was grey all the way through, not a speck of pink.
Does any body have any thoughts about the toughness of the opah I bought? Is that typical? How should it be cooked to become tender when it was really tough when it was raw? Was it old or frozen? Was it just a bad cut, really sinewy? I'm really puzzled, it was not anything like opah I had at restaurants in Hawaii.