What Does Giant Trevally Taste Like? Cooking Giant Trevally

January 13, 2021

What Does Giant Trevally Taste Like? Cooking Giant Trevally

Giant Trevally, or GT’s as anglers often call them, are a very large fish species mainly found in tropical and subtropical waters across the world, including Hawaii, Australia, New Zealand, and Southern Africa. Mainly prized as a trophy fish, the largest Giant Trevally can reach 150lb or more. The smaller fish, though still great fighters and hardly small – 20lbs or under – are preferred for table fare. So what does Giant Trevally taste like?

Giant Trevally taste similar to other saltwater gamefish: they have dense and meaty, pink steaks with a mild flavor. The flavor of the fish does vary from location to location and even fish to fish. The oily bloodline running the body’s length is usually removed to maintain a milder flavor, and the skin should be removed.

Want to learn more about Giant Trevally and what they taste like? Keep reading!

What Are Giant Trevally?

Mainly prized as a trophy fish, the largest Giant Trevally can reach 150lb or more. The smaller fish, though still great fighters and hardly small – 20lbs or under – are preferred for table fare.

Giant Trevally is easily overcooked and will get dry if left on the heat for too long. The big ones are particularly susceptible to drying out and can be as tough as boot leather if not treated correctly. Even when great care is taken in the preparation, the big ones can still be tough to eat.  

Like everything else, Giant Trevally tastes like chicken! Ok, that is a joke, but considering they have been documented leaping out of the water to catch birds for their food, it wouldn’t be all that surprising. We’ve also heard they taste similar to Giant Herring.

Ways to Prepare Giant Trevally

A good way to prep Giant Trevally is to rub it with salt and pepper before marinating, but leave it too long, and the salt will quickly dry the fish out. Marinade simply with combinations of lemon juice, olive or coconut oil, vinegar, soy sauce, and some herbs. The same recipes you use for Wahoo or Mahi Mahi go great with Giant Trevally.

Again beware of leaving the fish to marinade too long as this can also make the meat tough. The citrus’ acidity cooks the fish, making it ready for another popular way of serving freshly caught Trevally – Ceviche. This will allow you to see what Giant Trevally taste like fresh.

Fresh Cilantro, lemongrass, coconut milk, lime, garlic, ginger, and chili adds a wonderful Thai style spice to the fish. Alternatively, dill or fennel goes very well with most fish, dill for the more subtle, and fennel for the more robust flavored fish. 

Trevally steaks are great, lightly cooked on an open flame, but for those a little more adventurous in the kitchen, I think you’ll find this recipe a real treat. They are much milder tasting than sailfish steaks.

Fish Pie with Giant Trevally and Mussels

This recipe is a more adult version of my favorite fish pie that mom made when I was a kid. I have allowed a little French influence into this dish with a splash of white wine to elevate the sauce, and it really makes the seafood pop. This is the shepherd’s pie style pie (so no pastry) and the topping is made with ricotta cheese.

Fish pie is traditionally made with white fish and prawns. Using a strong smoked fish poached in milk gives the creamy white sauce an intense seafood flavor. Working in counterpoint to the sweetness of the prawns. Topped with cheesy mashed potato, it makes great comfort seafood.

This recipe uses a pink fish instead of white, so I paired it with the darker more intense flavor of mussels over prawns, and rather than a creamy bechamel, what better compliment to mussels than a delicate white wine sauce. 

To provide the sweetness that was lost with the prawns, I chose to include another French classic – petit pois and add a touch of freshness and round out the dish, a hint of mint. 

Ingredients

A deep 16″ x 9″ oven/baking tray.

Mashed Potato Topping

  • 2lbs Yukon Gold or other good mashing potatoes
  • 3tbsp butter
  • 1 ½ cups ricotta cheese
  • ½ cup full cream milk
  • 6 or 7 sprigs of fresh mint, un-chopped 
  • Salt and pepper

Marinated Fish

  • 3lbs skinned Giant Trevally fillet, cut into ¾ – 1-inch cubes
  • ¾ cup finely chopped fresh dill or fennel
  • 1 lemon, juiced 
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 2 tbsp coarse sea salt

Sauce and Filling

  • 6lbs mussels in the shell
  • 2 cups fresh green peas, ideally petit pois
  • 2 cups dry white wine
  • ¾ cup finely chopped shallots
  • ¾ cup finely chopped fresh parsley
  • ¼ cup finely chopped fresh or dry tarragon
  • 6 tbsp butter
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped/minced
  • 1 lemon, juiced 
  • Salt and white pepper

Note: I love lemon with fish. If you are not so fond of lemons, use a bit less. If the marinade feels a bit dry, make up the difference with an extra 1 tbsp olive oil and ½ tbsp of white wine vinegar.

Step 1

This can be done a few hours in advance, but once the potatoes are on, so is the clock! The mashed potatoes need to keep some of their heat because the pie will only go under the grill to crisp the top; otherwise, we risk turning the mussels and the fish to rubber.

Prep, pre-cook, and shell the Mussels.

  • First, scrub the mussels under cold running water and remove any ‘beards.’
  • Next, put the wine and mussels into a large pot with a lid, bring to the boil and immediately reduce the temperature to a slow simmer.
  • As soon as the mussels begin to open, remove the pot from the heat, and immediately remove the mussels from the pot. Remember to save the broth for the white wine sauce. 
  • Allow the mussels to cool, then remove them from the shells. Discard any mussels that have failed to open

Tip: We want to cook the mussels as little as possible at this stage. 

Step 2

Peel and quarter the potatoes, put them into a pot of cold water, add a half teaspoon of salt and bring to the boil. It should take about 20-25 mins for the potatoes to cook from boiling. Start the clock!

Tip: To check if the potatoes are done, see if it slides off a butter knife. Using a sharp knife to check if a potato is done doesn’t work. They slide off of a clean-cut much easier than a blunt puncture wound. 

Step 3

Prep the fish by putting it in the baking tin. 

  • Sprinkle half the coarse salt, and half a tablespoon of ground black pepper, and the olive oil over the diced fish and give it a quick toss like a salad dressing.
  • When the fish is all coated, move right onto the marinade.

Next, make the marinade.

  • Juice the whole lemon.
  • Mix the other half of the coarse salt with the lemon juice.
  • Add the dill and white wine vinegar to the marinade.
  • Pour the marinade over the fish. 
  • Give the fish another quick toss.

At this point, you should have a few minutes to kill, and considering someone has had the fight of their lives pulling this GT out of the ocean, and it might be time to pour a round of G&T’s! 

Don’t get too comfortable, though. Otherwise, the marinade will over season the fish!

Step 4

Prepare the peas and filling.

  • After the potatoes have been boiling for about 15 mins, get the peas on to cook.
  • Put the peas straight into boiling water, and it helps to keep their color and vitality.
  • Add half the mint to the potatoes and half to the peas. 

Tip: I like to boil the petit pois with the potatoes. I really like the subtle sweetness and freshness that the peas and mint give the mashed potato. 

Don’t be put off if your Yukon gold potatoes go a little bit green, and it’s just the surface. Once they’re mashed with the Ricotta, butte,r, and milk, you’ll hardly even notice, and the flavor is well worth it.

Tip 2: I find mint loses its intensity the longer it cooks, hence adding it to the potatoes now, rather than at the start.

Step 5

Make the white wine broth.

  • Juice the lemon.
  • Melt the butter on low heat and gently sauté the shallots until transparent
  • Add the garlic.
  • Cook for another minute or so before adding the tarragon, some salt, and white pepper.
  • If you would like a slightly thicker sauce, you can add 1tbsp flour and mix well
  • Slowly add the lemon juice and 2 ½ cups of the broth from cooking the mussels.
  • Increase the heat to a simmer and then whisk for 1 minute.
  • Remove from the heat and add the parsley.

Tip: Ideally, it’d be best to put off making the sauce for a few minutes until the potatoes are ready and have someone else carry out step 6 simultaneously.

Step 6

Prepare the Ricotta mash.

  • Remove the potatoes from the water with tongs and place in a clean bowl. 
  • Strain the peas with a colander, remove the mint sprigs and add the peas to the sauce.
  • Mash the potatoes roughly with a masher. 
  • Add two-thirds of the Ricotta, the butter, milk, 2 tsp of salt, and 1 level tsp of white pepper.
  • Mash until smooth.

Step 7

Assemble, grill, and serve.

  • Put the mussels in with the peas and fish, and pour the hot white wine sauce over the top.
  • Using a serving spoon, dollop the mash in roughly equal portions over the filling, then, using a fork, smooth and level out the mash.
  • Make a small well in the center of each portion, then use the last ⅓ of the Ricotta to give everyone a spoonful on the top of their serving. 
  • Level out the Ricotta before putting the assembled pie under a preheated medium grill for 6-7 minutes to give the topping a crispy golden finish.

Serve with fresh microgreens and a crisp Chablis!

Conclusion

Giant Trevally always gives a great fight, and they are intelligent fish seeking out rocks and reefs to try and cut your line. As if their intelligence was in any doubt when they are capable of matching the speed and heading of a bird in flight, to then leap from the water, devouring it in a single swallow. 

The fight to get a Giant Trevally onto the boat or the shore is always a great memory. Keep photos of the trophy-sized ones, keep memories of the fantastic meals made from the smaller ones. Be sure to check out our article on the best Giant Trevally lures

If you are lucky enough to land one of the 100+lbs monsters, we strongly advocate to release it rather than eating it. 

Not only are anglers reporting that the biggest Giant Trevally are becoming more and more scarce, but Cutigua poisoning is a distinct risk the older the fish gets. Another reason to be wary of tabling the largest GT’s is that it is not uncommon to find worms in these long-lived fish. 

Surprisingly, Giant Trevally is not considered a particularly high-risk fish when it comes to Mercury, despite living up to 24 years.

We hope you enjoyed this article on what does Giant Trevally taste like. 

Happy Hunting!

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