Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Cocoa Spice Encrusted Seared Wahoo

The very same wonderful neighbors who grow our lamb every year and often bring us fresh-caught crab are also known to go on a fishing trip or two after which they share the bounty of their catch with us. Yes I do know how lucky we are.
Last summer neighbor Chris went on such a trip to Baja and brought back a number of different kinds of tuna. In the bunch that he shared with us was this loin of Wahoo, a relative of the King Mackerel. While this fish is not in the tuna family, you could've fooled me: It looked like a tuna, seared like a tuna and tasted delicously like a tuna only really, really juicy. All the fish caught on Chris' trip were loined and flash-frozen on-site making this the freshest thawed fish I've ever tasted.
Michael Chiarello's NapaStyle Cocoa Spice Rub was the perfect base for the thick coating on the loin. The spice rub has cardamom in it so I embellished it with more cardamom and extra salt to bring out the flavors. You don't have to try to find a loin of Wahoo to make this dish; albacore or yellow-fin tuna would work just fine.
Seared Wahoo with Cocoa Spice Rub
Christine's original recipe
(print recipe)
3 tablespoons NapaStyle Cocoa Spice Rub
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/2 teaspoon fine Kosher salt
1 loin of Wahoo or tuna
2 teaspoons olive oil for the pan
1 teaspoon butter for the pan
Grind the spice rub, cardamom and salt in a mortar and pestle until it becomes a very fine powder.
Pat the loin dry with paper towels and then roll in the spice mixture, coating the fish entirely. Use up all the spice powder by patting it on with your fingers to make a thick coating.
Place the oil and butter in a heavy skillet over high heat.
When the butter has melted, add the coated loin and sear quickly, turning the loin with tongs until all the loin is seared and browned.
You can serve the loin at this point if you like your fish very rare. Otherwise, place the pan in a hot (400 degree) oven for 2 more minutes to cook the fish a little longer. The center will still be rare.
Remove the loin to a cutting board and allow it to rest for 2-3 minutes then slice it into rounds with a very sharp knife.
Serve with steamed green beans tossed with a small amount of butter and a sprinkling of toasted chopped pecans.

Copyright © 2005-2008, Christine Cooks. All rights reserved


  1. Christine, what a gorgeous loin of Wahoo fish, I've never tried it.

    I'm saddened that you "advertised" about this fish...now all the sushi restaurants are going to want it and the price will sky rocket!

    I'll be on the lookout for wahoo.

  2. That looks so delicious! And a good choice for healthy eating too.

  3. Wow what a recipe Christine.

  4. Peter, I think that restaurants already know about this fish but sadly don't market it. Wahoo, unlike tuna, are not on the seafood watchlist. We should actually demand more Wahoo and less tuna. Glad you like the recipe!

    Hi Kalyn, It was the quintessentially low-glycemic dinner!

    Thanks Anne! Just one more thing for you to try to mail order, hmmm? :)

  5. I think I have had wahoo. Yours looks positively delicious.

  6. This is the second wonderful seared tune/fish recipe I've come across tonight! I am sooo jealous!
    I can get things like sole, eel, ray...all skinny, flat fish. I want a seared steak...NOW!
    Mayby next month when I'm in the U.S....How far are you from Minnesota??? (Kidding, I really know, 'cause I'm smarter than a 10 year old)

  7. Those are the neighbors I need! That is absolutely a beautiful meal. So healthy and so good tasting.

  8. I don't think I'll try and mail order this one!! I have just received the garlic slicer!!!

  9. Thank you Simona.

    I understand what you're saying but it cuts both ways - I've never had eel or ray and would like to try them. And, yeah, Minnesota is a long way from California, but you could fly here in about 4 hours! :)

    Thanks Tanna. Glad you like it!

  10. Hi Anne, I meant the Cocoa Spice Rub, not the Wahoo. How do you like the garlic slicer?


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