Hawaiian Pesto-Crusted Ono


  • 1 1/2 cups packed cilantro leaves, stems removed, leaves rinsed and patted dry
  • 3/4 cup packed mint leaves, stems removed, leaves rinsed and patted dry
  • 1/2 cup toasted macadamia nuts, plus finely chopped toasted macadamia nuts, for garnish
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon chopped garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Pinch cayenne
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 4 (6-ounce) Ono (Wahoo) or Opakapaka (pink snapper) fillets
  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 6 wonton wrappers, cut in strips
  • 6 ounces mesclun lettuce, rinsed and spun dry, for garnish
  • 1 papaya, peeled, seeded, and finely diced
  • Asian vinaigrette
  • 1/2 cup julienne red bell pepper
  • 1/2 cup julienne Maui onions
  • Chopped green onions, for garnish


  1.  To make the pesto, in a blender or food processor, combine the cilantro, mint, nuts, ginger, lemon juice, garlic, salt, and cayenne. Process on high speed. Scrape down the sides.
  2.  With the machine running, slowly add 1/4 cup of the canola oil in a steady stream to form a thick paste. (If too tight, add slightly more oil, 2 teaspoons at a time with the machine running.)
  3.  Scrape down the sides and process again. Adjust seasoning, to taste.
  4.  Place the fish in a large baking dish and smear both sides with the pesto. Refrigerate for 1 hour.
  5.  In a large skillet, heat the sesame oil over medium-high heat. Add the won ton strips and fry until crisp. Remove and drain on paper towels.
  6.  Heat the remaining 1/4 cup canola oil in a large non-stick skillet over high heat until hot but not smoking. (Or, if using 2 skillets, use 2 tablespoons per pan.)
  7.  Remove the fish from the refrigerator and pat the pesto sauce firmly onto both sides, adding more if necessary.
  8.  Add the fish fillets to the pan in batches to prevent overcrowding and cook until crusted on both sides and the fish is just cooked through, 2 to 3 minutes per side.

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