You don’t often see marlin filets in the fish markets.
That’s because in the United States, marlin is more of a gamefish rather than a foodfish. Landing a marlin is considered one of the greatest accomplishments among sports fishermen, but marlin is usually either stuffed and hung on the wall or released after being caught.
Still, occasionally you will find it for sale. It’s texture is much the same as mahi mahi, although its flavor is milder.
Marlin are an interesting fish. They can grow up to 2,000 lbs yet they can swim as fast as 68 miles per hour. They have long spear-shaped bills, like a swordfish, and big, colorful dorsal fins, which makes them popular as trophy fish.
Although they are not usually found on US menus, marlin are very popular in other countries, particularly in Japan. They are also served a lot in Cuba, the setting of Ernest Hemingway’s novel “The Old Man and the Sea,” in which an elderly fisherman famously battles a marlin.
Because it has a firm-ish flesh, like mahi, marlin can be prepared any number of ways. You can grill it, fry it, steam it, or broil it. In Japan, it is often served raw as sashimi.
I chose to pan sear it. To be honest, this recipe originally called for tuna, but I couldn’t find any fresh tuna in any of the markets I visited. One fishmonger told me the tuna have stopped running so the price has skyrocketed and everybody has temporarily stopped stocking it.
A note on the ingredients: Edamame are soybeans. You can buy them in the shell or shelled, and fresh or frozen. I prefer shelled, frozen edamame because I don’t use them that often. They taste almost exactly like pinto beans — which we used to call football beans when I was a kid — and you can substitute those if you prefer.
I found both the edamame and the soba noodles at Trader Joe’s.
Pan Seared Marlin
1/4 cup Low-sodium Teriyaki sauce
2 TBS Rice wine vinegar
1 TBS Fresh ginger, chopped
1 tsp Honey
2 cloves Garlic, crushed
2 filets Marlin, about 6 oz each
12 oz package Organic buckwheat soba noodles
1 TBS Extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup Edamame beans, shelled
1/2 Red bell pepper, ribs and seeds removed, julienned
2 Green onions, sliced thin
1/4 cup additional Teriyaki sauce for noodles
1. Combine 1/4 cup of Teriyaki sauce, vinegar, ginger, honey and garlic in sealable plastic container and stir together. Place marlin filets in the marinade and turn over a couple of times to completely coat the fish. Cover tightly with a plastic lid and let the fish marinate in the refrigerator 15 to 45 minutes.
2. Cook soba noodles according to package instructions. Drain, return to the pot and stir in 1/4 cup Teriyaki sauce.
3. Meanwhile, place edamame in a microwavable bowl, cover with plastic wrap and cook on high in the microwave for three minutes. Next place the red pepper in another microwavable bowl, cover with plastic wrap and microwave for one minute, just to soften. Then add the edamame and the red pepper to the soba noodles.
4. Place a non-stick pan over a medium heat. When hot, add oil. When smoking, carefully place fish into pan, being careful not to splash yourself with hot oil. Cook about two minutes each side or until fish is golden brown and cooked all the way through. Use a fish spatula to turn the fish to prevent the filets from breaking apart.
5. To plate, use a tongs to pile the soba noodles in the center of a pasta bowl, making the pile as high as possible. Make sure the edamame and red pepper are evenly distributed. Then use the fish spatula to place the marlin filets on top of the noodles and garnish with green onion.