Paprika Grilled Opah Steaks

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Opah (also known as moonfish) can be substituted for salmon in recipes, I discovered after some research.  It’s an oily, mild-tasting fish that can be found at a local fishmonger.  You can find me grilling year-round.  Whenever I can get my hands on fresh fish, it’s going on the grill.


  • 2 pounds opah (moonfish) steaks
  • 1 cup orange juice
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons paprika
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper


Rinse fish under cold water.  Combine orange juice and olive oil and marinate the rinsed fish in this mixture for no more than 30 minutes.

Preheat a grill to high heat.  Combine the brown sugar, paprika, salt, and pepper in a small bowl.  Remove fish from the marinade; pat dry with paper towels.  Rub the seasoning on both sides of each fish steak.  Grill the opah on high for 5 minutes each side, no more.  Flip only once.  Do not overcook good fish, otherwise it will turn rubbery and chewy.  This recipe will yield a sweet-rubbed fish that is not too flaky and makes for amazing pictures (and taste, duh).

Serves 5.  Enjoy.

Categories: Grilling, Seafood | Tags: , , | 7 Comments

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7 thoughts on “Paprika Grilled Opah Steaks

  1. I’m not sure about marinating in orange juice. The citric acid in the juice will cook the fish, just like in ceviche. I guess if you only marinade for 30 minutes, it will only cook the outer portion of the fillets provided they’re nice and thick. I just think you could get the same flavor using orange zest or just juicing it just before it’s served.

    • ericlissner

      Any marinade needs some type of acid. It will begin to denature the proteins, yes. But it lets in flavor and makes it juicier in the end. I kept this marinade simple because the fish was high quality.

      • It’s enzymes in marinades that break down muscle fibers to tenderize the meat and add flavor. And not all acids denature the proteins. Come on Mr. Molecular Gastronomy.

  2. I don’t know much about molecular gastronomy (although I would like to). Both the acids and enzymes help in marination. You can look it up online. I probably used too much acid and not enough oil, but I didn’t marinate it for very long, so it worked out in the end. I was trying to keep things simple.

  3. Yeah it’s good that you only marinated it for 30 minutes; fish soaks up marinade. Searing is fun though if you haven’t tried that.

    I wish I had a real kitchen. Let’s see how your school recipes compare.

  4. Pingback: Vacation « TuroK Like Food.

  5. Lisa Mathieu

    We cooked the Opah tonight with this recipe and it was FABULOUS!

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