Sunday, June 1, 2008

Sauteed Opah with Lemon-Miso-Honey Sauce

Opah is another local fish that I enjoy eating. Opah is also known as moonfish as well as sometimes sunfish kingfish and a few other less common names. It has a unique round shape--hence the moonfish name, and it can reach up to 200 lbs, although most caught in Hawaii average about 100 lbs. It has a dense, moist flesh and a medium, slightly rich flavor and is often eaten raw, broiled or smoked as well as steamed or poached, sauteed and baked. Since it was fresh and wild at the store this week, I picked some up for tonight's dinner. I tend to either steam my Opah and sprinkle it with green tea salt or saute it and top it with a quick creamy lemony honey miso sauce that I think enhances the natural sweetness of it's flesh.

Sauteed Opah with Lemon-Miso-Honey Sauce
By Deb, Kahakai Kitchen
(Serves 2)
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 Opah fillets (4-6 oz)
a pinch each of good quality sea salt and freshly ground pepper
1 Tbsp butter
2 Tbsp white miso paste
Juice of 1 medium lemon
1 Tbsp local honey
1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper
1 Tbsp cream (optional)
salt to taste
2 Tbsp chopped cilantro
Heat a medium saute pan over medium-high heat and add oil. Lightly salt and pepper fillets and cook over medium heat until done and fish flakes easily. (About 4 minutes per side depending on thickness). Meanwhile melt butter in a small sauce pan or skillet over medium-low heat. Add miso, lemon juice and honey and stir until blended, reduce heat to low and cook sauce for 5 minutes. Add pepper, cream if desired and chopped cilantro. Serve over fish, garnish with additional cilantro leaves and lemon wedges.
The sauce is simple, the honey adds a bit of sweetness to the tang of the lemon. You can easily get away with just the miso and no cream and still get a "creamy" sauce but if I have the cream to use up, I throw it in to make it a bit more decadent. Plus you really aren't putting a lot of sauce on the fish--so splurge a little! You could also omit the cilantro and/or use parsley or another herb you like--I just happen to be a cilantro freak. I usually serve my fish with some kind of rice (pictured is an Indian lemon rice mix) and green salad. A nice simple dinner because The Next Food Network Star starts tonight! It starts at 7:00 PM here. I can't wait to see who I will like and who will annoy the @#%* out of me! ;-)


  1. Yum - that looks delicious!

  2. It sounds really good, lots of flavors and exotic touch. I had the best holiday of my life few years ago in Kauai! i will have a look often on your blog, it's also a way to remember the beautiful place where you live.
    Thanks for sharing

  3. Opah is such a beautiful fish both alive and on the plate. I just had to leave a comment to let you know that this is probably the most interesting and attractive recipe for Opah I have ever seen. Being a fishmonger by profession and Hawaiian by birth (now living in Seattle by the way), I tried this recipe tonight and was blown away with how the sweetness was brought out. There are 3 very distinct cuts from a single fillet of Opah. Just as a suggestion for your readers, the may need to ask their local fishmonger to cut from the loin for this particular recipe. The belly meat will more than likely turn to mush due to the amount of cook time. Would you mind if I posted your recipe (obviously with links and props)on my blog at
    BTW, I found you at foodbuzz
    Fishmonger Ran

  4. Thanks Ron! Glad you liked it and of course you can post it. I just left a comment on your site telling you the same thing. Mahalo, Deb

  5. That sounds really good. Unfortunately every time I see "Opah" my brain sees "Oprah". Not that I'm blaming you :)

  6. I enjoyed your recipe! I found some nice opah at the fish market and cooked it for my boyfriend's birthday. We both loved the lemon miso honey sauce. Great idea!

  7. Oh this looks like something I will love. I have never tried this type of fish before. I doubt I can get any locally, sadly.

  8. Yum! Looks deliscious! (In addition to the Opah, I might be putting Lemon Miso Honey Sauce on pretty much everything from this point forward . . .) Cheers, Michelle

  9. I am always looking for new and interesting flavours that go with fish. This sauce sounds wonderful and very different to what I would normally do. I can't wait to give it a try.

  10. I was very lucky today to be at the Ventura Harbor when the fish boat came in.
    I had never had Opah before, but decided to give it a try.  It was a beautiful fish and I have to say It was lovely to eat.  I put it on the grill, and made the sauce.
    Excellent !  My family loved it !  Thanks for the recipe.  Will use it on other fish...Hee heee my husband is still walking around saying how much he loved it as I type.

  11.  I am so happy to hear that you and your husband enjoyed it! One of my favorite fish for sure and a favorite simple sauce. Thanks for the positive feedback. ;-)

  12. I made this last night and it was fantastic. My husband raved about how simple and wonderful it was. Thanks so much for sharing this wonderful recipe. I'm keeping a copy in my must save pile.

  13. I saw the fish on a story and thought they were so beautiful. So, I tried poaching a nice steak with lemon and parsley. So sorry could not eat it the fish has about as much flavor as plain tofu, yuck. Anyway it was pretty.

  14. We love this dish! ***** all the way! I go down to our local fish market and get fresh Opah routinely. As someone who is finicky about fish - it's a game changer

  15. The sauce works great with Opah. This was my favorite fish while living on island and I love finding fresh Opah here in CA now. I will make this again. Mahalo

  16. This was the best recipe for fish I've ever had. It was insanly good with mashed potatoes and fried leeks. Thank you!

    1. Thanks Anonymous! I am so glad you liked it. One of these days I am going to have to re-post the recipe with better photos. ;-)

    2. Just did the recipe again tonight. Already have the white miso in the fridge and the grocery is still bringing in the Opah. No brainer. I'm in San Diego...and was intoduced to opah on a trip to Maui, more specifically at one of those restaurants at the whalers village in Kannapali. Loved it at first bite. Your's is even better. I saw it at the grocery and luckly found your recipe.

      The first time with the mashed potatoes I used parsley instead of the cilantro. This time with the cilantro, nice subtle pepper influence. Was cooking just for myself tonight so just grilled some aspargus to go with it. Epiphany number two, this miso sauce goes great with grilled asparagus. Move over hollandaise, miso is the other new sauce. :)

      Love your blog and tastes,

      Bob in San Diego

    3. Oh Ya, cream of course both times..

    4. So glad you are enjoying it Bob! You gotta have the cream I think. ;-) I will definitely have to try the sauce with asparagus. Mahalo & aloha, Deb

  17. Picked up individually frozen opah fillets today here in middle Tennessee and looking for a great recipe....this is my choice for tomorrow's dinner. I shall serve it with satued green beans and ??? Possibly baked sweet potatoes

  18. Just made Opah for the first time and tried this sauce with it. Thought it was going to be a bit overboard for my wife, who is not a fan of miso, but she enjoyed it!
    My only thought while enjoying it was to add a touch of ginger.
    Will make it again!


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