Adventures of the Heart
Mary Zalmanek
Entrees: Opah with Pico de Gallo and Sweet Potato Fries

Serves 2


Chicken-fried tuna was on the menu at the Circle K Cafe in Johnson City, Texas. It sounded like a strange thing to do to fresh tuna, but the server assured us it was crisp on the outside and pink on the inside.  We ordered it to satisfy our curiosity.  Our joyful taste buds did a happy dance.  The recipe I'm sharing with you this month was inspired by that dish.  I didn't chicken-fry the fish, and I didn't even use tuna, but the food underneath and on top of the fish imitates their excellent creation. Whole Foods was out of tuna when I tried to buy some, but the fishmonger recommended opah as a substitute. Yum!


Pico de gallo

Oven-Baked Sweet Potato Fries

2 servings (6 to 8 ounces each) opah

1 tbsp spicy garlic sauce (I used Cajun Power)

Cilantro for garnish

2 tbsp light agave nectar or honey

2 tsp ancho powder


1. Make pico de gallo and set aside.  Get sweet potato fries ready to go in oven.


2. Preheat convection oven to 375 or conventional oven to 400.  Coat baking pan with cooking spray.  Place opah in center of pan. Pour spicy garlic sauce over fish.


3. Place opah on top rack and sweet potatoes on bottom rack of oven.  After 10 to 15 minutes, turn sweet potatoes and switch positions in oven (opah on bottom, sweet potatoes on top). Both will need more cooking time, roughly 10 to 15 minutes each.  Watch them as they'll cook at different speeds.  The opah should flake in the middle when poked with a fork.  The sweet potatoes should be lightly browned on all sides, not burned. 


4. In the meantime, mix together agave nectar and ancho powder to taste. 


5. To serve, place sweet potato fries in center of plate.  Place opah on top of sweet potatoes. Top fish with a generous portion of pico de gallo and cilantro garnish.  Drizzle agave nectar mixture near the edge of the plate like they do in fancy restaurants.  Drizzle it on the pico de gallo, too, if desired. Serve immediately.