Welcome to austinagrodolce … My family and I garden with more intention and enthusiasm than allocated budget or overall design plan. It shows. Wildlife populations don't seem to notice our lack of cohesive design, they just like the native plants here. It seems by growing local we've thrown out a welcome mat. Occasionally, we're surprised at who (and what) shows up.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Weekend Eats Part 3 - Cooking Under a Full Moon

You all know the drill. Full moons bring the crazies out. Emergency rooms fill up, normally placid, reasonable folk find themselves with short tempers, driven by strange urges. We'd already been taken for a long walk on a short pier by all the hype over how bad the weather would supposedly be here when Ike finally came to town.

MixwitMixwit make a mixtapeMixwit mixtapes

And then it didn't. So there I was this Sunday, coming off a failed Saturday night pancake experiment [think communion bread meets maple syrup] all set to make pork stew as one of those "even better to eat the next day" dishes, so what in thunder was I going to do for dinner Sunday night? In light of that full moon, I wanted something I could depend upon to delight and satisfy a couple of wary palates.

Wheatsville's Meat Guy, Bryan, had the answer.

Sidebar: I posited in a past post that Bryan the meat guy and Johnny the produce guy are actually one and the same. At the time I ventured into that theoretical realm, I had never seen the two guys in the same room. All I'd seen were two suspiciously similar photos.
My next visit to Wheatsville definitively settled that question. A week or so ago as I was standing speaking with Bryan about Thanksgiving protein options, up walked Johnny. Clearly a totally separate human being. Having abandoned the "same person" theorem I am sticking with my other original supposition. I believe there is yet a strong case to be made that the two are twins, separated at birth.

Anyway. There I stood this past Sunday, perusing the proteins, when totally separate human being Bryan came up holding the answer to my "what ever will I fix for dinner tonight?" dilemma. Line caught, Ecuadorean Mahi Mahi fillets.

Bingo! What is the perfect thing to fix for a quick delicious dinner when you've spent most of the afternoon cooking your pork stew for dinner the next night? Fish, that's what! I snagged two good sized fillets, and while the pork stew for Monday night was cook, cook cooking, I hit the internet to find something interesting to do with the Mahi Mahi.A bit of family history here. We spent several summer vacations in Hawaii where we were totally spoiled by the freshest most delicious Mahi Mahi imaginable. At the place we stayed our hands down favorite was pan seared Mahi Mahi with lime beurre blanc sauce topped with toasted macadamia nuts.

I needed some other way to trick out the fish fillets. I'm not going up against fond family memories of a professional kitchen's lime beurre blanc for one, and didn't want to spend that kind of prep time for two. I did know I'd be putting macadamias on top. That I could manage.

And as is usually the case, Mama Internet in the guise of RecipeZaar had just the thing. Ginger Glazed Mahi. Rapidamente, easy, ingredients on hand, and the reviews were all raves. Check, check, and double check.

Ginger Glazed Mahi Mahi
* 2 mahi mahi fillets
* 3 tablespoons honey
* 3 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce
* 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
* 1 tablespoon gingerroot, finely grated
* 1 garlic clove, minced
* 1 teaspoon sesame oil
* 2 teaspoons olive oil
* salt and pepper
* 1 tablespoon olive oil (reserved)

1. Mix all ingredients in a ziploc bag and add fish. Leave in fridge to marinate
for up to 2 hours.2. Preheat oven to 400.
3. In an oven safe skillet, heat 1 Tbsp olive oil on medium high heat.
4. Place fish in skillet, but be careful--it will splatter a bit.
5. Leave the fish to sizzle away for 5 minutes.6. Flip the fish over and place entire pan in the oven for 15 minutes. Remove and serve.

The only work in this recipe is grating up the ginger. Just right for one of those nights when you are not feeling energetic, and yet are in the mood for something deliciously elegant.

I made very few changes to this recipe. I didn't add any salt to the marinade. I used half low salt Tamari and half Tabasco Soy sauce for extra zip. I reduced some of the cooking time, as my fillets were not particularly thick.

I really didn't want to overcook the fish, a mistake I veer towards in my occasional insecurity with preparing seafood. I reduced the first stove top sear to 4 minutes and then took my flipped over fish out of the oven after about 11 minutes when a quick knuckle shove on the filets proved they were pretty firm.

The recipe said nothing about skin on fillets (mine were). I decided to start with the skin side up for the shorter stove top sear leaving the skin side down for the finishing time in the oven.In several of the reviews online, folks shared they had thickened leftover marinade and served that as a sauce. I've seen any number of warnings about using leftover protein marinades, but I'm guessing the cooking obviates the need to throw it out. The marinade does provide a truly delicious glaze as is. I think putting more on top would be gilding the lily, frankly.I served this with a basmati-wild rice blend we like and a green salad comprised mostly of arugula. I really enjoyed the combination of peppery lettuce with the sweet and tangy entreé.As I look back at the photo of the finished dish, it appears I went into frenzy mode with the chopped mac nuts. Whatever. We love love love macadamia nuts and the crunchy buttery toasty nut topping worked really well with the gingery soy sweet glaze. You can leave those off or put on however much of a sprinkling suits you when it is your turn, and I promise not to snicker. Deal?

My husband, who'd spent the better portion of the day with pork stew vapors dancing in his nose, was rightfully ready for pork stew for dinner Sunday night. I was really pleased to have this extra flavorful Mahi Mahi to offer in its stead as I planned to wait a day for the stew. Full moon or not, nothing crazy about that.

1 comment:

Flapjacks said...

yeah. our mahi is the bomb. you should try making ceviche with it. perfect.