Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Mahi-Mahi with Green Gazpacho Sauce

Mahi-Mahi with Green Gazpacho Sauce
Traditional and Sous Vide Methods
Serves: 4
Difficulty: Easy
Sous Vide Temp: 125 degree F, Time: 12 minutes
Mahi-Mahi with Green Gazpacho Sauce
Mahi-Mahi, also called Dolphinfish and Dorado, is found in warm waters throughout the world. It is a lean fish with firm, flavorful flesh and often best prepared simply and served with a sauce to enhance the delicate, almost sweet, flavor. Most U.S. harvest of mahi-mahi comes from the Pacific, mainly Hawaii. If the fish market sign reads “Fresh Dolphin” do not gasp in horror. Even though the brightly colored mahi-mahi is occasionally labeled dolphin, it’s very much a fish, and is completely unrelated to dolphins and porpoises, which are not fish at all but air-breathing marine mammals.

Mahi-Mahi can be sautéed stovetop or roasted.  As a lean fish, one must take care not to overcook it or it will dry out. Use skin-on fish if you plan to grill as they will hold together better during grilling, skin-side down. However for most reproducible and even cooking, I prefer sous vide. It is especially useful for cooking seafood, for which the window of proper doneness is often vanishingly small when traditional methods are used. When you fry a piece of fish, the flesh is most succulent and tender within a very narrow temperature range. Traditional cooking with a range, oven, or grill uses high and fluctuating temperatures, so you must time the cooking exactly; there is little margin for error.
  • 1½ C coarsely chopped peeled and seeded cucumber
  • ¾ C coarsely chopped green onions
  • ½ C coarsely chopped fresh cilantro
  • 5½ Tb olive oil, divided (1½ Tb used for sauté)
  • 1½ Tb (or more) white balsamic vinegar (white wine vinegar would substitute if needed)
  • 3 tsp chopped seeded Serrano chilies
  • Salt and pepper
  • 4 6-7 ounce mahi-mahi fillets
  • 1½ tsp ground cumin
  • 6 ounces small red & yellow cherry tomatoes, halved, optional

Mahi-mahi, whether fresh or frozen, is pink with red strips/spots and occasional brown or bluish tinges. Dark red bloodlines and spots are okay, but can be trimmed if you wish before cooking for a milder flavor. Sprinkle fish on both sides with salt, pepper and cumin.
Fresh mahi-mahi
With salt, pepper and cumin
To cook mahi-mahi stovetop or oven:  Heat remaining 1 Tb olive oil over medium heat in a heavy sauté pan. Add the fish and cook 5 minutes. Turn over, cover and cook until fish is just opaque in center, 5 minutes more.  Alternatively, one could cook in a 350 degree F oven for 12-14 minutes.

To cook mahi-mahi sous vide: Preheat your sous vide bath to 125 degree F. Carefully place the fillet in your 1 quart zip-lock back or vacuum seal according to manufacturer instructions.

If using zip lock bag, carefully lower the bag into the heated water using the water to displace the air surrounding the fish. At this point, one can carefully seal the Ziploc bag making certain it is completely closed and air is removed. Or, one can secure the edge of the package and clip it to the side of the sous vide bath/pot. Now set your timer for 12 minutes.  After you take the food out of the pouches, pat it dry, either with paper towels or clean kitchen towels. Using a cast iron or other thick, heavy sauté pan, heat over medium-high to high heat, add a thin film of oil and heat until it just starts to smoke.  Add the dry fish to the pan, being careful of splattering, and cook for 30 seconds per side, just until the fish browns.
Searing after sous vide
To make sauce: Combine cucumber, onions, cilantro, 4½ Tb olive oil, vinegar and chilies in processor. Using on/off turns, blend mixture until lightly chopped. Be careful not to over-process the sauce as the crunch from the cucumbers adds a welcome texture to the finished dish. Transfer to a bowl.  Season with more vinegar to taste, if desired, and add salt and pepper. By all means play with other ingredients if so inclined, such as basil, tarragon, thyme or dill.
The key ingredients of the sauce
Ready to serve!
To serve: Either divide gazpacho sauce among 4 plates, top each with a fish fillet and scatter optional halved tomatoes over top. Or, serve gazpacho alongside the mahi-mahi and pass the bowl of additional servings. Pretty much any fish would work with this sauce. You could use cod, swordfish, bass, halibut or monkfish in addition to scallops and shrimp.

This is a quick, healthy and flavorful mid-week meal everyone will enjoy. Give it a try soon!


Please see my “All about sous vide” post to get some background on this technique (http://cookingwithlarue.blogspot.com/2015/06/all-about-sous-vide.html#more).

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