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Pan-seared Tilefish served with seafood risotto and topped with julienned fennel

Updated: May 5

At a recent Local Catch Network workshop, in an off the cuff conversation, Chatham Harvesters met a notable chef in the Lahaina's culinary scene, recognized for innovative cuisine highlighting Maui's flavors. The chef prioritizes sustainability, supporting local agriculture, fishers, and artisans. He recommends finishing a seafood risotto with butter rather than adding it in earlier and incorporating key ingredients from small batch fish stock. Julienned fennel as a garnish is attributed to him. Lahaina, Maui, faced devastating wildfires in August 2023; this chef and other volunteers supported affected communities with food efforts. Wishing their community a robust recovery and flourishing future!

This is our version of the chef's suggestion. Thanks Chef!

Please enjoy the recipes below.

Seafood Risotto Recipe

Servings: 3-4


  • 1 ½ cups Arborio rice

  • 4 cups Chatham Harvesters small batch fish stock

  • 1 cup dry white wine (such as Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Grigio)

  • 1 shallot, finely chopped

  • 2 cloves garlic, minced

  • ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter

  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

  • 1  julienned fennel green, for garnish

  • Lemon wedges, for serving


  • Prepare the Risotto: In a separate large saucepan or skillet, heat the remaining olive oil aover medium heat. Add the chopped shallot and minced garlic. Sauté until softened, about 2 minutes.

  • Add the Arborio Rice: Add the Arborio rice to the saucepan and stir to coat with the oil and butter mixture. Cook for 1-2 minutes until the rice becomes translucent around the edges.

  • Deglaze with Wine: Pour in the dry white wine and stir continuously until the wine has been absorbed by the rice.

  • Start Adding the Stock: Begin adding the fish stock, one ladleful at a time, stirring constantly and allowing each addition to be absorbed before adding more. Continue this process for about 18-20 minutes, or until the rice is creamy and cooked al dente.

  • Finish with Butter and Parmesan: Remove the risotto from the heat and stir in the the butter and grated Parmesan cheese. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.

  • Prepared the Fish: Recipe is below

  • Serve: Divide the seafood risotto among serving plates or bowls. Top with seared tilefish and garnish with julienned fennel (which has been washed and blanched) and serve with lemon wedges on the side.

Pan-Seared Tilefish Recipe

Servings: 3-4


  • 1 pound tilefish fillets

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

  • 2 cloves garlic, minced

  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice

  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste


  1. Preparation: Pat the tilefish fillets dry with paper towels to remove any excess moisture. This will help achieve a nice sear.

  2. Season the Fish: Season both sides of the tilefish fillets generously with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

  3. Heat the Pan: Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat until it shimmers but doesn't smoke.

  4. Sear the Fish: Once the pan is hot, carefully place the seasoned tilefish fillets in the skillet, (skin side down if the skin is still on.) Cook without moving for 3-4 minutes, or until the fish easily releases from the pan and develops a golden-brown crust.

  5. Flip and Cook: Using a spatula, gently flip the fish fillets and cook on the other side for an additional 2-3 minutes, or until the fish is opaque and cooked through. The cooking time may vary depending on the thickness of the fillets. If the fillets are thick, you may need to lower the heat slightly and cook for a bit longer to ensure they cook through without burning the exterior. Internal temperature should be 145 degrees.

  6. Add Flavor: In the last minute of cooking, add minced garlic to the skillet and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Drizzle lemon juice over the fish.

  7. Serve: Transfer the pan-seared tilefish to serving plates. Garnish with fresh herbs if desired and serve immediately with lemon wedges on the side.

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