We recently enjoyed this light and healthy fish dinner at home – I had some ono fish filets and all the ingredients for the black bean salad on hand, so it made dinner preparation a breeze. To help make dinners different from the usual fare (like this), I like to keep frozen shrink-wrapped fish filets in my freezer. If I want to make fish sticks (tilapia or cod) or seafood chowder at the last-minute, my pantry is usually stocked for it. Ono is similar to swordfish in texture and taste, with a lightly sweet, firm texture. This dish would also be fantastic made with halibut or sea bass. Typically I serve wilted spinach or roasted potatoes with fish – the black bean salad is a colorful alternative that adds bright, fresh flavors to the meal. I like my fish to have a crispy sear on the outside and the ono had just enough fat to do that (the tiny dab of butter at the end gave it added richness). The filets cooked in about 6 minutes so this is a meal you can have on the table without any fuss. As a guideline for cooking ono, you can estimate 3 minutes per side for every ½ inch thickness of filet.
I haven’t made the black bean salad in a while and forgot how good it is! It’s simple and quick to make with canned black beans, baby spinach, red onion, sweet baby bell peppers, Italian parsley, lemon juice and zest, a bit of garlic and extra virgin olive oil. The salad is also quite versatile: for a Mexican twist you can substitute cilantro, Poblano peppers and lime for the spinach, Italian parsley and lemon. Stored in the refrigerator it will keep for up to two days; the beans start to break down a bit from the citrus but it still tastes just as good.
Please check out my earlier post for more about farm-raised fish versus wild-caught fish. And if you’re looking for a great resource on sustainable and healthy ways to enjoy fish, please visit the Monterrey Bay website (ono is on their “good alternative” list) where you can search by seafood and download pocket-size fish guides for your purse or wallet.
Eat well and share the love!
Pan-Seared Ono with Black Bean Salad
Recipe: Melissa Schenker/Foodie for Two
Serves two foodies
1 can (15 oz.) black beans, drained and rinsed well (no
2 tablespoons finely diced red onion
3 mini sweet bell peppers, finely diced (or half of one
red, yellow or orange bell pepper)
1 cup baby spinach, chopped
¼ teaspoon grated lemon zest
2 teaspoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons chopped Italian parsley
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
½ small garlic clove, finely minced
3/8 teaspoon kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon fresh cracked pepper
2 filets of ono fish (or halibut or sea bass)
Fresh cracked pepper
1/2 tablespoon unsalted butter
2 lemon wedges
1 tablespoon chopped Italian parsley
Add the black beans, red onion, bell pepper, spinach, lemon zest and juice, parsley, olive oil, garlic and salt and pepper to a medium bowl and gently stir together so the beans don’t break up.
Sear the fish:
Add a light drizzle of olive oil to both sides of the fish filets and season with salt and pepper. Heat a medium skillet over medium high heat with about 1 tablespoon olive oil, enough to form an even light coating. When the oil just starts to develop ripples, lay the fish filets in the skillet (meat side down if skin is on) and cover with a splatter screen. Tip: when you lay the filets down, place them away from you to avoid getting splattered with hot oil.
Cook without touching or moving the filets for 3 to 4 minutes, depending on the thickness. Gently move the pan back and forth to distribute the oil around the filets every few minutes. When the fish is ready to be turned it will easily release from the pan. Using a spatula gently turn filets over, add a drizzle of olive oil around the inside edge of the skillet. Cook for another 3 to 4 minutes. Fish is done when it flakes and meat is opaque in the center. When done add ¼ tablespoon of butter to each filet and let melt.
Cooking guide: cook 3 minutes per side for every ½ inch thickness.
Place a ½ cup of the black bean salad on the bottom of a plate and top with a seared filet of ono. Repeat for other serving and garnish both with a lemon wedge, some chopped parsley and a bit of the black bean salad.