Local Hawaii ingredients used with an international flair
Friday, May 06, 2011
Remembering Ohana Seafoods’ Jeffrey Yee
by Nanette Geller
When I arrived at KCC Farmers market last Saturday, I was saddened to learn that Jeffrey Yee of Ohana Seafoods had passed away. He has been a friendly presence at the KCC market almost from the beginning. Even before that, we used to buy his wonderful Asian-style marinated fish at the Manoa Marketplace farmers market.
We especially enjoy the misozuke butterfish and Korean style saba (mackerel). If you have bought miso-marinated butterfish, or eaten it in a restaurant, it was probably his. Fortunately for Honolulu fish lovers, his family will carry on his legacy.
A couple of years ago, instead of buying already marinated fish, I started buying jars of Ohana’s sauces to use with fish purchased elsewhere. Both the miso and Korean style sauces are staples in my fridge. In fact, just a few days before, I made misozuke butterfish and planned to use the leftover fish for dinner Saturday. When I saw that Fresh From the Source was making a rare KCC appearance with auction-fresh fish, I decided instead to buy some locally-caught ahi and in Jeffrey’s memory prepare it with his Korean sauce.
The ahi steaks were marinated for about an hour in Ohana Seafoods’ Korean sauce, then patted dry with a paper towel before sautéing in a little butter until medium-rare. While the ahi rested, I deglazed the pan with dry sherry, then added a spoonful of crème fraiche and a little bit of the marinade. The sauce was allowed to reduce a little. In went a handful of chopped green onion and it was ready to serve. The sauce brought out the “meatiness” of the ahi without overwhelming it.
The Yukon Gold potatoes were prepared in a way popularized by Jacques Pepin. The potatoes are first cooked, covered, until almost tender in chicken stock with a little butter. The cover is removed and the stock is allowed to boil off. Press down lightly on each potato to crack it slightly. The potatoes are then browned on both sides in the butter. Here is a recipe. Potatoes and baby romaine from Milner Farm, tomatoes from North Shore Farms.
It may seem odd to combine a slightly spicy shoyu-based sauce with butter and cream, but in fact they complement each other quite nicely. I like to use the Korean sauce for salmon which I marinate for a couple of hours and then cook in a covered pan with the marinade, some crème fraiche, and a lot of chopped sorrel. The salmon steams while the marinade, cream and sorrel come together into a sauce which is rich, tart, and complex.
We love mackerel, but it isn’t available fresh in Honolulu. The frozen fillets are improved by marinating for a day or two in Ohana’s Korean sauce before patting dry and broiling. It’s equally at home as part of a Western dinner or a Japanese dinner.
The company name is Ohana Seafoods but that doesn’t mean their sauces should be limited to fish. The Korean style sauce is terrific with meats or vegetables as well. Go ahead and experiment! Jeffrey would approve.
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