Thursday, August 15, 2013

Mahi Mahi With Corn-Jalapeno Relish

Mahi Mahi With Corn-Jalapeno Relish recipe

Since I discovered this recipe 7 years ago, preparing mahi mahi with corn-jalapeno relish {or halibut or whatever firm-ish white fish happens to be your freshest market selection} tops my annual summer to-do list. 

Let me preface my next statement with the plea that we all resist saying, where did the summer go?!  because at this juncture, let's face it, summer is 3 months long and fall doesn't arrive for another 36 or so more days. So if my financial mind is not too musty, that means we are only 2/3 of the way through summer. Still, I said to myself yesterday as the deluge of tourists have evaporated and school is back in session, where did the summer go? The pressure is on. I have not grilled nearly enough and I have so many summer favorites - grilled or not - that I have yet to prepare. So I got busy with this favorite recipe which calls for a small handful of ingredients - most of which are probably already in your possession. 

The concept of the dish is two-fold. First: adorning fish with a south-of-the-border relish of corn, lime, jalapenos, garlic, cilantro, seasoning... 

and butter. Wait, what? I don't remember butter being part of the equation. Then I looked at my notes on the tear sheet which I can barely read  {I've been told I should be a doctor and I now realize my first grade teacher, who made me cry by giving me all A's and a sole B for handwriting, was actually on to something}. It looks like I've crossed out the calling for an entire stick of butter and noted 2 T instead. And then I see a note that says no olive oil. Knowing myself as a I do, I am sure that at some point I made this recipe with olive oil instead of butter and vowed not to try that again. That makes sense: imagine serving corn on the cob with olive oil. No, corn must be paired with butter. And in this instance the smallest bit of butter gives a hint of richness to a list of otherwise super healthy ingredients.

And the second concept is that the fillets and relish are steamed. I've spoken ad nauseum about my obsession with steaming fish which always yields a moist fillet and in this instance allows the corn to maintain its crunchiness. The original recipe includes what I deem tedious instructions for steaming the fillets in corn husks which I am sure adds an extra boost of flavor and I am sure if your cooking teacher was a Mexican Grandma you laugh at my notion of skipping this step. But what can I say, en papillote or bust. It's all about the parchment paper.

Following is the original recipe, which will yields a few spoonfuls of relish for each fillet. You'll need a side dish - think pureed cauliflower. Another option is to double the relish recipe below while sticking with 4 fillets. You'll have a one dish dinner {I first tried this route last night}. 

Mahi Mahi With Corn-Jalapeno Relish

1 large red jalapeno. seeded and diced
1 large green jalapeno. seeded and diced
1 large ear of white corn, kernels cut from cob
1/4 c chopped cilantro leaves
2 good size garlic cloves, minced
juice of 1 large lime
2 T butter, melted
1/2 t salt, plus more for seasonings fish
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
4 fish fillets, 4-5 oz each {mahi mahi or halibut}
1 avocado, sliced

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Combine the first 9 ingredients in a bowl. Taste and adjust seasonings.

Pat fish dry with a paper towel and lightly season one side of each fillet with salt and pepper. Cut four large squares of parchment paper and lay them on a work surface. Place a fillet in the center of each square and spoon corn relish on top. Create airtight pouches by bringing each of two opposing ends of parchment paper together and folding over and down {or you can secure with staples}. Twist or fold the ends of the paper complete each pouch. Place pouches on a baking tray or dish and bake until fish is just cooked through in the center. Use 15-20 minutes as a guideline - cook time will depend on the thickness of your fillets.

Place each pouch on a plate and carefully open {there will be steam}. Garnish with avocado and serve.

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Source: Adapted from The Los Angeles Times

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