Nobody has ever been disappointed to catch a wahoo.
Even a marlin tournament crew can take solace that the wahoo they caught, even if it were not a marlin, still makes a hell of an excuse to fi re up the grill. Wahoo are found far and wide and wherever they are caught people like to eat them.
What follows is Chef Andi Bell’s take on preparing wahoo. Bell is the executive chef at Boshamps Seafood and Oyster House in Destin, Florida. Located in Destin Harbor, Boshamps is not only a Gulf Coast landmark, but occupies a place of prominence on the fishing landscape. Home to the Flathead Classic Cobia Tournament and frequented by the who’s who of the Gulf Coast tournament crowd, Boshamps is exposed to its share of fresh seafood – including wahoo.
Bell’s Gulf to Table Culinary philosophy produces some remarkable cuisine. When it comes to cooking wahoo, Bell recommends two methods: grilling and pan roasting.
Chef Andi Bell’s Grilled Wahoo
“Grilling might be the best way to cook wahoo aside from maybe pan roasting it,” Bell explains. “You want to cook it medium-rare to medium so that it doesn’t dry out. You want to cook it over high heat for a short amount of time.”
How to Make it Happen:
1. Lightly brush wahoo steaks or fillets with olive oil.
2. Season with salt and pepper (“That’s all I ever use to season wahoo,” Bell says.)
3. Cook over the hot part of the grill without allowing the fish to catch fire. Cook 4-5 minutes per side.
Pan Roasted Wahoo
Bell’s other go-to method for fulfilling wahoo’s culinary potential is to pan roast it. This method is a straight forward one as well. Just make sure that the pan that you use doesn’t have a plastic handle and can be placed in a hot oven.
1. Add olive oil to a sauté pan/skillet.
2. On the stove, place the pan on high heat until the olive oil just begins to smoke.
3. Add seasoned wahoo to the pan (Bell seasons his with a little bit of salt and pepper).
4. Let the fish brown until the fillet begins to turn opaque.
5. Flip the fish, remove from heat and place the skillet in an oven heated to 400 degrees.
6. Allow the wahoo to finish cooking in the oven for 10 minutes. Once you have your wahoo cooked the way you like it, Bell recommends a couple of varieties of sauce. His go-to for grilled wahoo is lemon butter sauce. This is something that he prepares daily in the restaurant and always has on hand.
Lemon Butter Sauce for Grilled Wahoo
1. Place a cup of heavy cream in a saucepan or small pot.
2. Cut three lemons in half. Drop the lemon halves into the cream.
3. Cook cream and lemons over medium heat until it thickens. When the cream reduces by half, you are good to go.
4. Remove the lemon halves.
5. Add two pounds of butter, cut into two-inch pieces. Whisk in the butter a few pieces at a time so it doesn’t break. Cook it until all of the butter melts.
6. Pour over wahoo….
If you are feeling ambitious, Chef Bell provides a couple more sauce recipes that require a bit more skill to prepare. Getting them right will make you a wahoo hero.
Boshamps’ Whiskey Tartar Sauce
• 2 cups Duke’s mayonnaise.
• 1 cup chopped bread- and-butter pickles.
• 2 tbsp. chopped fresh parsley.
• 3 tbsp. chopped green onion, both white and green parts.
• Juice and zest of 1 lemon.
• 2 tsp. whole-grain Dijon mustard.
• 1 heaping tbsp. finely chopped garlic.
• 1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce.
• 1/2 tsp. Tabasco sauce.
• 2 oz. whiskey.
• 1/2 tsp. kosher salt.
• 1/2 tsp. black pepper.
Mix together and use as a dip or garnish for wahoo or other seafood favorites.
Vidalia Onion Jam
• 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil.
• 3 large sweet onions cut into 1/4-inch dice.
• 2 parsley sprigs.
• 2 bay leaves.
• 1 rosemary sprig.
• 1 cup sugar.
• 3/4 cup white balsamic vinegar.
How to Make It:
• In a large pot, heat the olive oil until shimmering. Add the onions and cook over moderately high heat, stirring occasionally, until golden brown, about 15 minutes.
• Tie the parsley, bay leaves and rosemary together with kitchen twine. Add the herb bundle to the diced onions and cook over low heat, stirring a few times, until fragrant, about three minutes. Sprinkle the sugar over the onions and cook, without stirring, until the sugar melts, about five minutes. Increase the heat to high and cook, without stirring, until an amber-brown caramel forms, about six minutes. Stir in the white balsamic vinegar and simmer over low heat, stirring a few times, until the jam is thick, about five minutes. Discard the herb bundle. Season the jam with salt and let cool to warm.
Next time you catch a wahoo, try one of these recipes. You will not be disappointed.