Oven Roasted Opah Fish with Provençal Vegetables and Basil Coulis

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Lately Opah has been frequenting the fish counter at our local shop. There are many things I like about Opah including its name, which should not be confused with a Greek dance or a celebrity talk show host. Native to the waters of Hawaii, the Opah fish (also known as Moonfish, Kingfish or Sunfish) is striking. It resembles an enormous silver-blue and rose hued sphere with white spots and crimson fins, tail and snout. Growing to an average of 3 feet in size, Opah’s meat is firm, mild flavored and pink to red in color. With cooking, the meat will turn white. Happily, Hawaiian Opah is not overfished, making it a good substitute for swordfish and halibut. It’s rich with fish oil, and a good source of protein, B vitamins phosphorus and selenium. You can read more about Opah on Seafood Watch.

Oven Roasted Opah with Provençal Vegetables and Basil Coulis

This is a delicious way to serve any firm fleshed fish. Right now peppers are running rampant in our farmers markets. I happened to have a selection of bell, gypsies and fresnos on hand, but bells will do the trick. Toss them with shallots, black olives and tomatoes for a provençal twist, while a dollop of basil coulis adds extra brightness to the dish. Serves 4.

4 filets Opah, about 1-inch thick
Olive oil
4 garlic cloves, smashed
2 red or yellow peppers, stemmed and seeded, cut in 3/4″ chunks
2 medium shallots, quartered
2-3 sprigs of fresh thyme, or 1 teaspoon dried
2-3 sprigs fresh oregano, or 1 teaspoon dried
1 pint grape tomatoes
zest and juice of one lemon
1/2 cup Kalamata olives
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
freshly ground black pepper

For the Basil Coulis:
1 cup basil leaves
1-2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
pinch of salt

Lemon wedges

Preheat oven to 350 F. Lightly sprinkle the fish with salt and black pepper. Pour 1/4 cup olive oil into a rectangular baking dish. Arrange fish one layer in dish, turning to coat with olive oil. Toss remaining ingredients, except lemon juice, in a large bowl with 1 tablespoon olive oil. Scatter the vegetables around the fish. Squeeze the lemon over the fish and vegetables and sprinkle with additional black pepper. Bake in oven until fish is just cooked through, about 30 minutes.

While fish is baking, prepare the basil coulis. Combine basil, olive oil and salt in bowl of food processor and process to a paste consistency.
To serve, remove fish from oven. Top each filet with a generous spoonful of basil coulis. Serve with lemon wedges.

14 thoughts on “Oven Roasted Opah Fish with Provençal Vegetables and Basil Coulis

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  2. We just had this dish for our daughter’s birthday dinner – It was really great! We served it along with some pan roasted new potatoes with garlic and fleur de sel. We had some roasted red pepper, so we used those. Didn’t have kalamata’s on hand, but used a few oil cured olives and capers. The fish has a really nice texture and flavor.

  3. we are holidaying in Kauai ( from Canada ) and needed a recipe to use fresh basil and opah fish. We found your site, tried the recipe and it is a keeper. In fact we have made it twice and our guests have gone home with your recipe. Awesome indeed.

  4. I cooked as per directions and the fish was overcooked yet the veggies were slightly undercooked. I am wondering if the recipe should call for a covered dish??? I am new to cooking fish and was very disappointed.

    1. Mary – I am sorry the fish did not turn out for you. The vegetables should be a little firm. If you prefer them more cooked, then they may be cut in smaller pieces. The thickness of the fish will also affect the cooking time. Try to find a thicker filet (the last time I purchased opah they were a little more than 1 inch thick) or reduce the roasting time. – Lynda


  5. Opah was a fish once reserved for consumption by the alii, and kapu for the maka ainana, or common people.

  6. My wife and I bought some Opah from our local Whole Foods. We first had Opah as a sandwich in Hawaii. Not ever cooking it before, I searched for a recipe and stumbled on yours. Tonight we tried it and it was simply fabulous. The preparation was reminiscent of a puttanesca to us. It was simple to prepare and (if I say so myself) came out perfect. Thanks!

  7. We had a similar experience too Mary. However, we started with previously frozen filets. I am not sure if that was the problem. We greatly enjoy opah here in Hawaii and intend to try this recipe again with fresh filets.

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