The light flavor of Carambola and rum tastes nice with black tip shark. Unripe green Carambola tastes like limeade. Yellowish orange color ripe Carambola tastes like sweet light citrus fruit. I used green Carambola for today's recipe, because it adds a refreshing flavor that is suitable for hot summer weather.
Black Tip Shark is a medium size reef shark. Black Tip Shark Steak has a clean savory flavor and a firm texture. The flavor of the meat tastes like Swordfish, Wahoo or White Marlin. Shark Steaks tend to be very forgiving, because the tight grain meat retains moisture and it takes some severe overcooking to dry the meat out.
Black Tip Sharks are fairly docile as far as reef sharks go, however they will become extremely aggressive during a feeding frenzy. Wounded fish or blood in the water triggers the aggressive behavior. These sharks also become aggressive during the spring mating season when they travel into bay waters to lay their egg sacks.
The age of a shark affects the flavor and texture of the meat. Old sharks tend to have tougher meat and a strong flavor. Old large sharks also tend to accumulate more mercury during their lifetime, which can pose a health threat if consumed on a regular basis. Yearlings tend to be milder tasting and more tender. Yearling sharks also have a lower Mercury parts per million count.
Once any large shark reaches a mature age, the meat becomes susceptible to ammonia contamination because of overexertion while being caught. A large shark's urine can "back up" into the blood stream and leave an undesirable flavor. If any size shark is not gutted quickly after it is killed, the urine will back up into the blood and the meat will have an undesirable flavor. When purchasing a shark steak, it is best to ask to smell the steak before making the purchase. If the shark meat is odorless and clean smelling then it was well prepared.
There are some red blood meat strands in a shark steak, just like there is in Swordfish or Red Fish (Red Drum) meat. The red meat in a shark steak will cook to a brown color and it has a nice beef steak kind of flavor, so do not trim off the flavorful red meat!
On a serious note, shark sustainability is now a major issue. In recent years shark populations of every kind have drastically declined in numbers, mostly because of the mythical belief that Shark Fin Soup increases longevity. Today's recipe was originally published back when most shark species were sustainable. Black Tip Shark populations are currently recovering from overfishing, so it is best to avoid this species altogether.
There are a few sustainable shark species that are good alternatives for Black Tip Shark. Spiny Dogfish, Common Thresher, Shortfin Mako and Blue Sharks from well managed fisheries are currently listed as sustainable choices. The list of sustainable shark species is subject to change on short notice, so it is always best to check the sustainability ratings before making a purchase. Two good resources for shark sustainability are:
• Environmental Defense Fund
• Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch
This recipe yields 2 petite portions.
Dandelion is a nice leafy green vegetable for the spring and summer season. Dandelion Greens have a bitter flavor that can be tamed when braised.
Step 1: Heat a sauté pan over medium heat.
Add 1 tablespoon of unsalted butter.
Add 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil.
Add 1/2 teaspoon of chopped garlic.
Add 1 tablespoon of small chopped onion.
Sauté till the onion turns clear in color.
Step 2: Add 1/3 cup of ripe sweet red bell pepper strips. (1/4" thick)
Add 4 cups of trimmed dandelion leaves. (loose packed)
Add 1 pinch of sea salt and black pepper.
Sauté and toss till the dandelion greens start to wilt.
Step 3: Add 1 cup of chicken stock.
Bring the liquid to a gentle boil.
Step 4: Reduce the temperature to low heat.
Cover the pan with a lid.
Simmer till the dandelion greens become tender.
Step 5: Remove the lid from the pan.
Raise the temperature to medium heat.
Rapidly simmer and reduce till most of the excess liquid evaporates.
Step 6: Remove the pan from the heat.
Keep the Braised Sweet Pepper Dandelion Greens warm on a stove top or in a 135ºF bain marie.
Black Tip Shark Steak au Carambola Rum Butter Sauce:
This recipe yields 1 entrée.
If Black Tip Reef Shark is still listed as an endangered species, then select an alternative sustainable shark species or billfish for this recipe.
Step 1: Select a 10 to 12 ounce Black Tip Shark Steak.
Press 2 pinches of cracked black pepper and sea salt into the surface of the black tip shark steak.
Step 2: Heat a sauté pan over medium heat.
Add 1 tablespoon of unsalted butter.
Add 1 tablespoon of canola oil.
Place the seasoned shark steak in the pan.
Pan sear the shark steak both sides till golden brown highlights appear.
Step 3: Remove the pan from the heat.
Drain the excess grease out of the pan.
Step 4: Return the pan with the shark steak to medium heat.
Add 1/2 tablespoon of unsalted butter.
Add 1/2 teaspoon of minced shallot.
Add 1/4 teaspoon of minced garlic.
Briefly sauté till the shallot turns clear in color.
Step 5: Add 7 thin slices of unripe green carambola (Star Fruit) that are 3/16" thick.
Add 1/2 teaspoon of lemon juice.
Add 1/4 cup of dry white wine.
Add 1/2 cup of rum.
Flambé till the alcohol is denatured.
Step 6: Place the pan in a 350ºF oven.
Bake till the shark steak is fully cooked. (About 4 to 5 minutes.)
Step 7: Remove the pan from the oven.
Place the shark steak on a plate.
Overlap the warm carambola slices on top of the shark steak.
Keep the plate warm on a stove top.
Step 8: Place the pan with the thin rum sauce over medium heat.
Rapidly simmer and reduce till the sauce is thin syrup consistency that can glaze a spoon.
Step 9: Remove the pan from the heat.
Add 1 tablespoon of chilled unsalted butter to the glaze in the pan while stirring with a whisk.
Pour the butter sauce through a fine mesh strainer into a ceramic cup.
Spoon the Carambola Rum Butter Sauce over the shark steak.
Step 10: Place 2 vegetables and potato of your choice on the back half of the plate.
*The entrée in the photos was served with Braised Sweet Pepper Dandelion Greens, Wax Beans and Dauphinoise Potatoes.
Garnish with an Italian Parsley sprig and a lemon wedge.
This is a nice tasting Caribbean style shark entrée for summer!