Grilled Hawaiian Opah with Candied Lemons and Herb Salad

I really love opah because it rides the perfect line between steaky fish like swordfish and flakier fish like mackerel. It seemed like the perfect amount of metropolitan drama for Ben who loves every aspect of catching, cutting and preparing the fish he eats. I have done this with a large Spanish mackerel and a bluefish as well. The bitterness of the lemon rounds, melded with the natural sweetness of the saffron and honey really illuminates the otherwise mild flavor of this fish.
  • Level: Easy
  • Total: 35 min
  • Prep: 10 min
  • Cook: 25 min
  • Yield: 2 servings
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Ingredients

1/4 cup baby dandelion greens

1/4 cup picked fresh parsley leaves

1 small bunch fresh chives, sliced into 1-inch pieces

2 to 3 tablespoons honey

2 teaspoons saffron, chopped

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more for seasoning

Pinch kosher salt

2 lemons, 1 thinly sliced into rounds, 1 squeezed for juice

12 ounces Hawaiian opah (from belly or loin), skin removed, cut into 2 to 2 1/2-inch-thick steaks

Sea salt flakes, such as Maldon

2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for brushing fish

1/2 cup picked fresh basil leaves

Directions

  1. Preheat the grill or a grill pan over high heat. 
  2. Combine the honey, saffron, pepper, kosher salt, lemons and 2 to 3 tablespoons water in a small saucepan and stir to combine. Simmer gently over medium heat, stirring occasionally and adding more water or honey as needed, until the consistency thickens and the lemon slices start to break down, about 25 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, sprinkle the opah on both sides with sea salt and pepper and lightly coat with the olive oil. Make sure the grill surface is clean, and then grill the fish on one side on the hottest part of the grill about 5 minutes, rotating halfway through to create diamond grill marks after about 3 minutes. Flip the fish using a fish spatula and repeat on the opposite side, cooking until fish is medium-rare, almost medium, another 4 to 5 minutes. Squeeze the lemon juice over the fish just before removing it from the grill and transfer to a serving plate. Brush the tops of the fish with a hint of olive oil and then cover with the candied lemons, followed by the basil, dandelion greens, parsley and chives.
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