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Hawaiian Yellowtail: Mail-order Fish from Kona Blue

Hawaiian Yellowtail: Mail-order Fish from Kona Blue

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Hawaiian Yellowtail

Hawaiian Yellowtail

Kevin D Weeks
It's rare (except in the case of cookbooks), but occasionally I'm offered products for review. I recently had an opportunity to review, of things, some fish. The fish is called variously Hawaiian Yellowtail (also known as Almaco Jack and trademarked as Kona Kampachi by Kona Blue). I was assured it would arrive absolutely fresh and that I had no obligation to review it. I tried it and, "Wow!" (Larger image.)

At a Glance

Producer's Site

Description:
The fish is similar to tuna, but more tender with a much milder flavor. It is farmed off the coast of Hawaii in deep water cages and is available as a whole fish or fillets and is shipped via FedEx unfrozen but packed in loads of ice.

Pros:

  • Among the best fish I've ever eaten.
  • Arrives absolutely fresh.
  • Sushi quality.
  • High in omega-3.

Cons:

  • Expensive.
  • Must be ordered at least a week in advance.
  • No control over delivery date.

Price: $34 for two 2-pound fillets, $8.75/pound for whole fish (avg: 4.7 lb.), plus shipping.

Guide Review - Fresh Hawaiian Yellowtail

I received an e-mail from someone at Kona Blue's PR firm introducing the product and offering to send me some. I checked out the company's Web site and said, "Sure."

The fish is harvested, based on the number of orders received on the prior Friday, on Sunday. This is why you must order in advance. On Monday whole fish are cleaned, gutted, packaged and shipped two-day express and will arrive on Wednesday. On Tuesday the fillets are prepared and shipped and arrive on Thursday. Note, you can request over-night shipping.

The fish are killed by chilling them in freezing brine (similar to seawater) and are packed in plastic wrap, a plastic bag, a dozen or so freezer packs, a foil-lined blanket, and a larger plastic bag. Once you dig down to the actual fish open the bag, and sniff, it smells of pure open ocean. Marvelous.

I tried a couple of bites raw and it is indeed sushi quality, but I prefer cooked fish so I brushed it with olive oil, then seasoned it lightly with sweet Spanish paprika, a touch of salt, and broiled in it a preheated oven for about six minutes.

This was fish to die for. I was moaning with pleasure. It was like eating fish butter. Extraordinary.

It's not cheap, two fillets will cost you $70 including shipping, but two fillets are 6 meals for two or just over $10 apiece - about what a quality steak costs (and I understand it freezes beautifully).

This isn't an every-day meal, but it's available to anyone FedEx can reach and if you're fish lover you would be hard-put to find a better piece of fish for a special occasion.

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