Louvar, where have you been hiding?

Two days ago at Monterey Fish Market, I was greeted by glistening fillets of "Louvar." I love fish and will try just about everything from the sea that comes my way, and I had never heard of or seen Louvar. What is that? I asked the always charming guys at the fish market.

Described as a cross between swordfish and halibut in its flavor, Louvar was a fish I had to try. I did a light ginger citrus marinade about 20 minutes before Paul tossed this mystery fish on the grill.

IT WAS DELICIOUS. Wow. So flaky, succulent, tender.

The next day I went back to Monterey Fish to find out more about Louvar - specifically when could I get more. Here is the story I got: Louvar is an illusive fish that is caught only when a swordfish boat trolling the California coastline happens to catch a glimpse of one. It has the odd distinction of dining only on jellyfish. The owner of Monterey Fish told me they were the #1 buyer of Louvar in California this year for a total of 170 pounds. He figured that meant one fish.

I probably should be keeping this delectable discovery to myself, but just in case you come across Louvar at a restaurant or fish market, I want you to taste it.

  • 1 1/2 pounds Louvar (if you can find it, otherwise Opah will do nicely)
  • juice of 1/2 Meyer lemon
  • a couple tablespoons of olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons freshly grated ginger
  • 3 cloves minced garlic
  • salt

Combine ingredients for marinade. Place fish in marinade for approximately 20 minutes at room temp, flipping time to time to insure an even marinade.

Grill for no more than 2-3 minutes per side on very hot grill.

Serves 4-6

In keeping with the mysterious nature of the Louvar, I don't have a photo of this dish. By the time I thought of sharing the recipe with you, we had already eaten it all.


  1. You are truly a very, very lucky diner! Eating Luvarus Imperialis (Louvar) is like winning the lotto jackpot! Luvarus Imperialis is very rare. There was an article in The Milwaukee News-Sentinel (Sunday June 29, 1941) relating an amazing story of a "Louvar" captured off the coast of St. Petersburg, Florida in 1941. The article concluded, as follows: "... There are even rumors that a Pink Fin Tuna Club has been formed. It is very exclusive. Only those who have eaten luvarus can join." Erin, you can consider yourself a modern day member of that exclusive club!

  2. What a fun note you left for me today! I have never seen Louvar again, so I do consider myself to be extremely lucky:)

    1. Thanks for your reply, Erin! If you are interested in reading the newspaper article that I mentioned in my previous note, it is on the web. I am not very good with computers and I do not know how to do "links" or URLs, but I was able to find the article again by using the "Google" search engine. Go to "Google" and type "Red fin tuna Municipal Pier" in the search field and it should come up as the first item entitled "Freak Sea". I found the article FASCINATING and I'm sure you will too, especially since you have eaten Luvarus Imperialis. When you pull up the newspaper article, be sure to look at the cartoon sketch above the article showing the people in the St. Petersburg restaurant eating their "red fin tuna" a/k/a Luvarus Imperialis (at 45 cents a plate)!
      Sincerely, John

    2. Thank you John! I'll look it up. What a fun bit of history:)

  3. John LongoApril 19, 2012

    Hi Erin! This is John. I hope you were able to locate that newspaper article okay. There was an additional article listed down below it on Google ("Rare Fish Caught By Local Fishing Guide In The Gulf") that was part of the St. Petersburg Times' fishing column the day after Jim Kelley captured his "Louvar". It gives more specific detail! I grew up along the Gulf Beaches near St. Petersburg, did a lot of fishing offshore and have been intrigued by Kelley's amazing catch ever since I first read about it in 1965 when I was a youth and I even managed to acquire a copy of the only photograph known to exist of Jim Kelley with his Luvarus Imperialis. The Louvar is truly "the rarest of the rare"! From what I have been able to gather from research, another specimen was not recorded in the Gulf of Mexico until 28 years later. A 276-pounder (frozen weight) was found stranded at Mexico Beach, Florida on June 2, 1969. I wanted to share all of this information with you, as your readers here might find all of this interesting, in light of your dining experience with Louvar. Have a great day!
    Sincerely, John Longo

    1. Hi John,
      Thanks again for sharing this great info. I talked to my local fish monger (who sold the louvar to me) and he said that California swordfish fishermen do catch Louvar, but they rarely make it to market. The guys eat the fish themselves. I can see why - it was amazing! I do feel lucky.


So good to hear from you... I appreciate each and every note you leave for me!