Ocean City Today

White marlin sliders with spicy slaw ‘innovative dish’

Food For Thought
By Deborah Lee Walker | Sep 21, 2017


Printed 09/22/2017


Just recently I was given a considerable amount of fresh marlin.

I must confess my knowledge of this particular fish is limited at best. Excitement quickly turned into panic because I had absolutely no idea what I was going to do with this unexpected gift. I quickly froze it until inspiration passed my way.

I decided to welcome the challenge and make this the subject of my article. White marlin can be tough and possess a “fishy” quality about it. That being said, my first train of thought should be centered on the cooking process. Once that decision has been made, I can start to work on the flavor profiles.

Fish basically falls into two categories, flaky and steaky. Flaky fish falls apart at the touch of the fork. Some examples of this type of fish include flounder, rockfish, halibut, cod and tilapia. Examples of fish that have a steak-like appearance are tuna, swordfish, mako and marlin.

My next train of thought was to review the types of cooking that would be the most conducive for white marlin. Steaming, grilling, broiling, baking, frying, smoking and sous vide are my basic options.

Steaming is not an alternative; the fish will toughen and not produce favorable results. Unfortunately I do not own a smoker or sous vide machine, so I am left with grilling, broiling, baking, or frying.

Out of these four options, I am leaning toward frying. However, that still does not totally solve the problem of toughness. Grinding the marlin meat will break down the tough fibers and yield a tender burger. Specifics equate perfection; should I serve a burger or slider? It only takes a few seconds to decide on a white marlin slider.

The next issue at hand is the seasoning. I am thinking a slight Asian flair with fish sauce might be a flavorful and interesting choice. The fish sauce will make the marlin much more palatable and give a hint of the salty ocean where the white marlin reigns supreme.

I am gradually making progress which eases my anxiety. Contrast in cooking is imperative if one wants to be successful. On that note, a spicy slaw will add a nice crunch which this particular dish desperately needs. The idea of semi-homemade and semi-store bought can save time when one has a busy schedule.

Harris Teeter, in my opinion, has the best house-made creamy coleslaw. So my spicy slaw is a combination of Harris Teeter’s coleslaw, red cabbage, scallions, poblano peppers and celery seeds. The poblano peppers really kicks up the heat in the slaw which will pair wonderfully with the Asian sliders.

The choice of bread should be given the same consideration as the protein. Small, toasted Parker House rolls are perfect for this slider. They provide a nice foundation and at the same time allow the marlin to stand out.

A few last pointers and my article is complete. If you do not have a meat grinder, I highly suggest Amazon. They have a good selection at very affordable prices.

Tuna or any other firm fish can easily replace the white marlin. Make sure you put the fish in the freezer 15 minutes prior to grinding the meat; your objective is to grind not mutilate the flesh.

In closing, white marlin sliders topped with spicy slaw is a refreshing twist on the traditional mini sandwiches. They may be little but the balance of crispy, salty fish and sweet creamy slaw makes this an innovative dish for locals. Ocean City hosts the White Marlin Open and should have a dish honoring this major event. Enjoy!


White Marlin Sliders Topped with Spicy Slaw


White Marlin Sliders

1 ½ pounds white marlin, cut into 1-inch pieces

1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt

3 teaspoons fresh ginger, minced

3 teaspoons chopped garlic in a jar

1 ½ Serrano chili, seeded, and chopped

2 tablespoons fish sauce

1 ½ teaspoons toasted sesame oil

1 tablespoon basil, finely chopped

2 tablespoons cilantro, finely chopped, plus extra for garnishing

canola oil for frying

16 small Parker House rolls

1. Chop white marlin into 1-inch cubes. Place them in a single layer on a rimmed sheet, cover with plastic wrap and transfer to freezer for 15 minutes.

2. Remove white marlin from the freezer and grind on the coarsest grind. Place fish in a medium bowl.

3. Combine salt, ginger, garlic, Serrano chili, fish sauce and toasted sesame oil in a blender and mix thoroughly. Add the fresh cilantro and basil to the marinade.

4. Using your hands, gently combine the marinade and the marlin. Refrigerate for 1 hour. In the meantime, start on the spicy slaw.


Spicy Slaw

1 pound Harris Teeter coleslaw (plain, not the blue cheese slaw)

½ cup red cabbage, slices very thinly and chopped

¼ cup green scallion, sliced thinly

1 teaspoon celery seed

1 poblano pepper, seeded and sliced very thinly

¼ cup Marzetti Slaw Dressing

pinch of kosher salt

1. Combine all the ingredients and refrigerate until ready to serve.


Cooking Instructions - Place 2 cups unseasoned panko bread crumbs in a pie plate. Form seasoned marlin meat into the shape of sliders. Thoroughly coat each slider with panko. On a large iron skillet, heat canola oil over medium-high heat. Carefully cook white marlin sliders until golden brown and crispy. Carefully flip sliders and cook until the other side is also golden brown. Transfer to a cooling rack and add a light dusting of salt.

Presentation - Place the mini white marlin burger on the bottom side of a toasted Parker House roll. Add the spicy slay and top with remaining roll. Garnish with fresh cilantro.

Makes 16 sliders

Secret Ingredient - Competition. “Practice like you’ve never won, perform like you never lost.”

— Bernard F. Asuncion

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