Cooking up a North Carolina Grand Slam

 In Recipes, Seafood

There’s nothing quite like grilling up your own catch of the day, and the proximity of the Outer Banks to the Gulf Stream makes our waters prime fishing grounds. Try your luck on a charter boat this summer. You may even be lucky enough to reel in an offshore Grand Slam, which entails hooking three of these four fish – tuna, mahi mahi, wahoo, and marlin.  While marlin isn’t edible, the other three make the perfect catch to bring back home for dinner. The following recipes are bound to please and impress the whole family as much as your catch does – even if your catch happened to be at one of the Outer Banks’ great seafood markets!

Grilled Marinated Tuna with Herb Butter

Yellowfin is one variety of tuna and can often be caught in offshore waters off the Outer Banks or purchased fresh in a local seafood market. When buying, select tuna with no dry or brown spots and no iridescent sheen. Be wary of tuna that looks too pink as well, which could likely indicate it was gassed with carbon monoxide as an additive to preserve the color. And as always when buying fish, be sure that it smells fresh like the ocean.

Fun Fact: A 3 ½ ounce serving of yellowfin contains 108 calories and only 1 gram of fat. It is low in sodium. A very good source of protein, yellowfin is high in some essential vitamins and minerals, including magnesium, phosphorous, potassium, thiamin, niacin, vitamin B6 and selenium.

8 tuna steaks
½ cup canola oil
1/3 cup soy sauce
¼ cup fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon lemon zest
½ teaspoon minced fresh garlic
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Prepare Herb Butter (below) and set aside. In small bowl, combine oil, soy sauce, lemon juice, zest, garlic and pepper. Reserve 1/3 cup. Place steaks in single layer in shallow baking dish. Pour remaining marinade over them. Marinate in refrigerator 45 minutes, turning once. Place steaks in well-greased hinged wire grill. Cook about 4 inches from heat until done on one side, about 6 minutes. Baste top side with reserved marinade and turn. Cook until done, about 6 minutes. Place on serving dish and spread with Herb Butter.

Herb Butter:

½ cup margarine or butter, softened
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons minced green onion, including tops
2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
1 tablespoon minced fresh tarragon

In small bowl, combine margarine, mustard, onion, parsley and tarragon. Set aside for flavors to blend. Serve over tuna steaks.


Creole Sauteed Mahi Mahi

Centuries ago, early French and Spanish flavors blended. Later the English brought their style. And African-Americans came to infuse the flavors of Africa as well. Legendary Cajun and Creole cooking associated with Louisiana was inspired and enhanced by Native Americans and African-Americans.

2 medium mahi-mahi fillets (about 1 ½ pounds total)
2 ½ tablespoons minced green onion
4 tablespoons vegetable oil
4 tablespoons margarine or butter

Prepare Creole Sseasoning (below). Cut fillets into serving-size pieces. Sprinkle green onion and Creole Seasoning over them. Heat oil in large skillet over medium heat. Add margarine and heat. Place fish in pan, seasoning side up, and sauté until golden brown, about 6 minutes, longer if pieces are thick. Turn and repeat on other side. Cook until golden brown and fish flakes easily with a fork, about 6 minutes more. Serve seasoning side up. Serves 6 to 8.

Creole Seasoning

1 teaspoon pressed garlic
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried basil

In small bowl combine garlic, salt, cayenne, pepper, thyme, oregano and basil.


Simply Grilled Wahoo

Wahoo fish is called ONO in Hawaii. ONO means “delicious.” And its delicate, white flesh is just that—delicious. Grilling seems to be everyone’s favorite cooking method for wahoo. Simply prepared, with a touch of fresh lime and some smoked paprika, this recipe is sure to be a hit.

1 ½ pounds wahoo steaks
3 tablespoons butter, melted
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 teaspoon lime zest
½ tablespoon smoked paprika (Pimentón)
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

In small bowl, combine butter, lime juice, zest, smoked paprika, salt and pepper. Place fish in baking dish. Cover both sides with marinade. Cover and refrigerate 20 minutes. Place fish in well-oiled hinged wire grill. Cook about 4 inches from heat until done on one side, about 4 to 5 minutes. Turn and repeat on other side.

Recipes courtesy Joyce Taylor from the NC Sea Grant/Mariner’s Menu. The late Joyce Taylor, author of Mariner’s Menu served as seafood education specialist with the North Carolina State University Seafood Laboratory and North Carolina Sea Grant since 1974. She raised awareness of local seafood through workshops across the state, with food editors, seafood markets, restaurants and consumers. Some of her blog postings featured recipes from the resource book Mariner’s Menu: 30 Years of Fresh Seafood Ideas.


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