Friday, April 27, 2012

Mahimahi with Orange Ginger relish

Sorry for the lapse in posting. Sometimes life gets in the way and sometimes I make things I already posted about...because they were so damn good the first time!

Anyway, this dish is really all about the relish that I concocted and less about what you serve it with, so though I strongly endorse the mahimahi selection, another white fish - say tilapia or cod - would also work. As far as the fish is concerned, you want to sprinkle it with salt and pepper and then grill it - no further prepping needed! Grilling should be about 5-7 minutes per side...but if it is starting to flake, it may be done quicker.

First, in a saucepan you want to mix 1 part sesame oil and 1 part grape seed oil (all together 1/4 cup; heat that over a medium flame/burner. Next toss in 1/3 cup of minced ginger - fresh is best - and if you like more ginger, go for it, its good for you! Let that soften a little and then stir in 1 tsp mustard seeds, a pinch of red chili powder and the juice from a large orange. (Note - keep the de-juiced orange itself for later.) Continue stirring this all together over a slightly lower heat and then after about five minutes, add a pinch of cilantro, 2 tsps of spicy Chinese mustard and a few splashes of soy sauce. Now, if you want the relish to be thicker, you can add some more mustard (I did) and continue to cook and stir over the low heat for another 5 minutes.

Once relish looks chunky and the the liquid has reduced a little, you are good to go. Zest the orange over the fish and then spoon the relish on top.

Served with steamed edamame, brown jasmine rice and a chilled Pinot Gris.

- Melissa

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Ohhhhhhh Caramelized Fennel & Pappardelle

You have no idea. I mean, how could you? How could you know that the most delicious thing ever is caramelized fennel? I didn't know until I saw it mentioned on some Food Network show and even then I was doubtful. Yet I planned a meal with it anyway and was rewarded with AWESOMENESS. Here's how you can get in on this...

For starters, get some fennel bulbs - two should be enough. You want ones that are firm and not brown; remember, you can store fennel bulbs for maybe two days in the fridge crisper, but not any longer. Anyway, you want to cut off the rough parts - meaning all of the greens - and then slice the white bulb into 1/8 inch thick pieces. You then boil the pieces in lightly salted water for about 5-7 minutes.

Next remove them from the water, pat them dry and place them into a shallow roasting pan with salt, pepper, LOTS of olive oil (I used a Spanish cold-pressed extra virgin), some Italian breadcrumbs and grated hard cheese - Romano, Parmesan Reggiano or what I went with - Grana Padano - will work. Then you bake the fennel at 450 degrees for 30 minutes. It will get browned, a little crispy and even slightly gooey (see photo).

For the pasta, I made a light sauce with some butter (maybe two tablespoons), the olive oil from the roasting pan and then placed the fennel over the pasta.

Served with fresh toasted onion pappardelle (found at the farmers' market but if you're not so lucky, try a fettuccine) and grated Romano cheese. Torn basil on top is optional.

- Melissa

PS - I am also considering other ways to incorporate the caramelized fennel into meals...perhaps a bruschetta appetizer or paired with oven roasted, bone-in chicken breasts. We'll see!

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