Some girls spend their Saturday nights out: dinner and a movie, drinks and dancing. I often spend my Saturday night experimenting with food while listening to my favorite podcasts. For example, last Saturday was spent up to my ears in fish viscera while being entertained by MacBreak Weekly, Girls Gone Geek and Generally Speaking. Fun, right?
Actually, it was.
A couple of weeks ago I was contacted by a marketing agent for Kona Blue and asked if I would like a sample of Kona Kampachi to try and, only if I wished, write about. I agreed, saying that I'd love to try it and would be happy to write about it as long as I genuinely liked it. I had the choice of receiving the fish whole, cleaned or filleted, and as I'd never worked with a whole fish before, I decided the take the more adventurous route.
I did some research on cleaning fish in my reference books, On Cooking and The Professional Chef, and found resources online from Cooking Enthusiast and Dummies.com. Then I jumped right in, rather clumsily and making a fairly big mess, and ended with two notably uneven fillets (the second side went more smoothly than the first). I'm sure I left a shameful amount of fish on the bone, but I froze the the head and bones to make fish stock at a later date.
It seems, from what I've read online, that Kona Kampachi is especially tasty raw, but I'm still not comfortable enough with raw food preparation to attempt sashimi in my home kitchen. I decided to pan sear it, since that's the method that I'm most comfortable with, with just some salt and pepper so that I wouldn't be getting anything but the full flavor of the fish. I cooked half leaving the skin on and half skinned, and preferred the skin on. A trick to this is to remove the skin after the fish is cooked and continue to crisp it up a bit in the pan.
The fish was delicious—moist and full of flavor. Kona Kampachi has a 30 percent fat content, which makes it tasty and hard to overcook (my initial cooking was on the rare side, but I actually preferred it medium). It also makes it a good source of Omega 3's, so it's also a healthy choice. I'd like to try it again, and next time I may steam it.
If you'd like to try Kona Kampachi but your local restaurants aren't serving it yet (it only recently reached the Chicago market), you can order it online directly from Kona Blue, or find it at Whole Foods. If you're in the Chicago area but would prefer to try Kona Kampachi at home, you can find it at Dirk's (it's currently listed at one of Dirk's favorites).