A Tropical Take
By Sean McCart
Published: 02/04/2010  Updated: 06/20/2019
A colorful dish from The Bay House in Lincoln City: pan-seared Opah with vanilla-toasted tangerine sauce on a bed of mashed rutabaga.
A colorful dish from The Bay House in Lincoln City: pan-seared Opah with vanilla-toasted tangerine sauce on a bed of mashed rutabaga.  photo by Gary Hayes

Opah is a mildly flavored Pacific deep-sea delicacy from Hawaii that lends itself to tropical flavors and imaginative sauces.

Featured recipe from The Bay House in Lincoln City, chef Sean McCart

Pan-Seared Opah with Asparagus and Vanilla Toasted Tangerine Sauce

Makes 4 servings.

28 oz of Opah (four 7oz portions) If Opah is not available Ahi is a great substitute.
Saffron (couple of pinches)
3 pounds Rutabaga
10 ounces Asparagus (5-6 asparagus stocks per plate)
2 each Vanilla Beans
1 pound Tangerines
1/4 lb Butter
1/4 cup Cream
1 1/2 ounces Ginger
4 ounces Fennel (one medium size fennel head)
Rice Wine Vinegar
Salt & Pepper to taste

Treat the rutabaga as if you were making mashed potatoes. First peel your rutabaga then rinse. Cut your rutabaga into a medium dice, place into a pot of water and bring to a bowl. Takes about an hour. Check the softness of the rutabaga every 15 minutes. You want them soft but not falling apart. Strain your rutabaga and mash as if you were making mashed potatoes (food mill works best). Bring 1/2 cup water to a boil, add your pinch of saffron, when your water turns yellow take off flame and add to your rutabaga, add 1/4 to 1/2 cup of melted butter, tad bit of cream, salt to taste.

Tangerine Sauce:
Peel your tangerines and toast the peel in a pan with olive oil until lightly cooked. Peel your garlic and chop along with fennel to a small to medium dice and add to tangerines peel, continue cooking adding your garlic then your reserve tangerine juice with rice wine vinegar (optional). Cut your vanilla bean open, scrape with a knife and add to your sauce. Reduce finish with 3-4 tablespoons of butter. Strain and serve.

Portion your Opah into 4 servings. Salt and pepper both sides of your fish. Heat a pan up on the stove with olive oil until the pan is just about to smoke. Place fish in pan and cook on one until a nice color is reached (light golden brown), flip and same on the other side. Place in a 350-degree oven for 8-12 minutes depending on the thickness of fish.

Cut the bottoms of your asparagus. Peel the sides of your asparagus (if smaller than a pencil, no need to peel). If you have time I recommend blanching your asparagus. Place your asparagus in a sauté pan with 2oz butter and a splash of olive oil. Asparagus is easy to over cook. Season with salt, pepper and butter.

While your rutabaga is cooking, start your sauce. 15 minutes or so before finishing your rutabaga and sauce, start your fish. Last thing is your asparagus.

Plating your dish:
Rutabaga portioned in middle of plate, asparagus all facing the same way and laid on top of your rutabaga, fish on top with the sauce around the outside of the plate.
A Tropical Take