Other Names: Barakuta (Japanese); butterfish; escolar negro, sierra (Spanish); escolar-schlanenmakrele, snoek (German); escolier (French); foguete, senuca (Portuguese); snoek (Great Britain); snoekmakreel (Dutch); tirsite (Italian); walu (Hawaiian); white tuna. Gempylidae.
General Description: Escolar is a lusciously rich Pacific fish popular in Hawaii, where it is known as walu. Two different fish are sold as escolar: Lepidocybium flavobrunneum, considered to be the true escolar, and Ruvettus pretiosus,
the so-called oilfish or castor oil fish, known for its purgative qualities. Though both are purgative, the association of true escolar with the oilfish has given the former a bad reputation. Escolar are excellent for grilling, and their distinctive taste holds up well to strong flavors.
Locale and Season: Found in tropical and temperate waters worldwide, escolar is nearly always a bycatch of tuna longline fisheries. Escolar is fished in Australia, Ecuador, and
Indonesia. In the United States, it comes primarily from the Gulf of Mexico or is imported from Ecuador and Fiji. Escolar is mostly available from late winter through spring.
Characteristic: Escolar are similar to Chilean sea bass and black cod with their oil-rich, slightly gelatinous, intensely flavored flesh. Raw escolar is bright white to light cream
and cooks up juicy and snow white.
How to Choose: Avoid buying oilfish, which may be sold as escolar. This fish will be much lower in price but is so high in
oil that it makes people sick. Escolar fillets will be dark, similar to bluefish in color; oilfish fillets will be reddish in color. True escolar flesh will be bright white. The flesh of escolar should spring back when pressed—if it doesn’t, the fish is old.
Storage: Store escolar fillets up to 2 days refrigerated.
Broil, steam, pan-sear, grill, hot-smoke, or bake. The skin is not eaten.
Suggested Recipe: Grilled Escolar (serves 4): Combine 3 tablespoons honey, 2 tablespoons red wine, 1 tablespoon
Worcestershire sauce, 1 tablespoon ground coriander, 1 teaspoon ground cumin, 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper, and salt to taste. Marinate 4 (6- to 8-ounce) escolar fillets in the mixture 2 to 4 hours, then grill in indirect heat (with the lid closed) about 20 minutes, or until opaque.
Flavor Affinities: Apple, Cajun seasoning, cilantro, coriander, cumin, curry, ginger, honey, lemon, mint, mushroom, olive oil, orange, red wine, rice vinegar, saffron.
from Quirk Books: www.quirkbooks.com