Incredibly Delicious But Don't Eat Too Much Butterfish
I had never heard of Walu before this week. I enjoyed fresh Bermudian Wahoo on a visit to Bermuda to visit friends Will and Linda, but this fish is different.
While in one of my favorite Main Line gourmet markets, Food Source, I looked for something different and found Walu at $12.99 per pound. Pricey but not as expensive as Chilean Sea Bass or Striped Bass.
The Walu was in whole pieces, not individual steaks and looked like a white center cut boneless pork loin. I prefer to buy it whole like this and cut individual steaks myself.
I asked Food Sources' fishmonger about the fish and he told me it is a Pacific fish also called escolar, snake mackerel, walu walu, or butterfish". He also told me not to serve more than 6 ounces per person because of its high oil content.
This got me interested, and after researching Walu on the Internet, I discovered that eating too much of it can cause gastrointestinal symptoms like diarrhea. Wish I had known that before I purchased it, but I can tell you no one in our family had any problems after eating it.
Further research showed Walu is banned in Japan and Italy because these countries "consider it toxic." The FDA has said the fish was "nontoxic and non-lethal" but then recommends that "Escolar (Walu) should not be marketed in interstate commerce."
Now talk about confusing!!!
How My Daughter Helped Me Decide How to Prepare the Butterfish
I was going to just cut it into steaks and sauté them in a frying pan, but my daughter remembered how Will in Bermuda dipped the Wahoo pieces in egg and flour. She thought I should do the same with the Waluu; we did together.
I decided to Pan Roast the fish by starting in a frying pan with butter and oil and finishing in the oven set at 350ºF. This also gave me time to work on the side dishes of potatoes and spaghetti squash.
The fish was great. Both girls enjoyed the mild flavor and halibut-like texture. It was seasoned with salt, pepper, and a wedge of fresh lemon juice.
I'm sure this would be a great fish to grill and I wonder if I could roast a whole piece in the oven and carve it into steaks when done cooking. This meal was quick and easy.
Not a lot of prep, and easy to prepare. You can throw this menu together in less than ½ hour. We microwaved the spaghetti squash and it came out perfect. The new potatoes were boiled.
I noticed in my research that Walu is served at one of my favorite seafood restaurants in Philadelphia called Little Fish. From the picture at philly.com, they serve it with a garnish of white beans, tomatoes and greens. Sounds like a nice combination.
Pan Roasted Butterfish
- Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Preheat your saute or fry pan that's big enough to hold the Waluu steaks. If your pans are not big enough, cook the fish in batches.
- Pour some all-purpose flour into a wide soup bowl or on a plate for dredging. I like to season the flour with salt and pepper, but you can season the fish.
- Break the egg into another wide soup bowl and combine the egg while and yolk with a fork. Using one hand (wet hand) for the egg and the other hand (dry hand) for the flour, start by dipping the steaks into the egg and then the flour. Be sure to knock any loose flour off the fish or the flour will burn and make a mess in the pan. If you are lucky, you will have one of your children help you with this step. My 8-year daughter has cerebral palsy and loves to help me in the kitchen.
- When the pan is hot, add the oil and butter until both are hot but not smoking. Add the Waluu steaks and brown on each side for 2 to 3 minutes until the fish is golden brown.
- Once brown, put the pan into the oven and cook until the fish is done to your preference. The actual length of time will depend on the thickness of the steaks, doneness, the pan you are using, and your oven. We cooked the fish in the oven for about 8 minutes.
- Remove the pan from the oven. Please remember the handle will be hot so you can use an oven mitt. I like to leave the mitt on the handle while it is on the stovetop, so I remember the pan is hot, having learned the hard way.
- Plate the fish with your side dishes and lemon wedge, and serve. Delicious!
Some of My Favorite Seafood Recipes
- Salmon Curry with Coconut Miso Recipe
- Grilled Salmon Delight: Perfectly Cooked Catch of the Day
- Everything You Need to Know About Ceviche
- Roasted Cod with Potatoes and Fennel Recipe
- Classic Tuna Casserole with Dill Recipe
- Shrimp Sauce Recipe
- Shrimp and Sweet Potato Curry Recipe
- Bacon Wrapped Scallops Over Coconut Curry Lentils Recipe