Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Sautéed Mahi-Mahi with Spinach & Gorgonzola Mash

Mahi-Mahi is the Hawaiian name for this tropical, warm water fish, sometimes referred to as Dorado or Dolphinfish, not because they have any relation to 'Flipper', but because they're often found swimming among Dolphins. Mahi-Mahi, like Swordfish, ranges in colour from white to dark pinkish-brown and has a mild sweet flavour with firm white flesh: white to light beige fillets are mild flavoured, while light pink to pinkish-brown are more heavily flavoured. Mahi-Mahi is very versatile and adapts amazingly well to a range of flavours and cooking methods. It's delicious baked, broiled, grilled, pan-fried, deep-fried, pan-seared, poached or sautéed, like this fabulous Sautéed Mahi-Mahi with Spinach, Gorgonzola Chive Mash and Lemon Dill Beurre Blanc Sauce.

Fresh oysters from Cotuit Bay, Cape Cod

The perfect start to any meal, we enjoyed half a dozen fresh oysters from Cotuit Bay in Cape Cod. A luscious quality oyster with a sweet briny flavour, they were enormous — almost as big as my hand! Garnished with a squeeze of lemon juice and a dollop of fresh grated horseradish, they were almost a meal on their own. Fortified with oysters, a Gin Martini and a game of cribbage in front of the fire, I was reluctantly ready to embark on dinner.

These enormous oysters — almost as big as my hand — have a bright 
and briny flavour, for which they're famous

Preparing the Gorgonzola and Chive Potato Mash earlier in the day is a great time saver, so all that remains is whipping up the Lemon Dill Beurre Blanc, wilting the spinach and quickly sautéeing the Mahi-Mahi in a little olive oil for about 3 to 4 minutes per side, starting with the skin down. 

Mahi mahi seasoned with salt and pepper and sautéed in a tablespoon of olive oil

Mahi Mahi sautéed over medium-high, about 3 minutes each side

Rewarming the Gorgonzola and chive potato mash

Sautéed spinach

The presentation is everything with this dish. To serve, place a mound of spinach in the center of warmed dinner plates, top with a scoop of Gorgonzola Chive Mashed Potato, and top with a fillet of Mahi-Mahi. Finish with a drizzle of Lemon Dill Beurre Blanc around the perimeter of the plate and garnish with some finely chopped red and green baby frillice lettuce, and a flurry of chives.

Sautéed Mahi Mahi with Spinach, Gorgonzola Mash and Lemon Dill Beurre Blanc
Serves 2

2 6 oz Mahi Mahi fillets, with skin on
1 tbsp olive oil
1 lemon, juice and zest
2 bunches fresh spinach, trimmed and washed
1 bunch chives, chopped for garnish
2 tbsp red and green baby frillice lettuce, chopped for garnish
Salt and pepper, to taste

Lemon Dill Beurre Blanc Sauce:
1 cup dry white wine
1/3 cup shallot, finely diced
1/2 cup cold unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
3 tbsp chopped fresh dill
2 tsp finely grated lemon zest
2 tsp fresh lemon juice, more to taste
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Gorgonzola & Chive Mashed Potatoes:
1 lb Yukon gold potatoes, washed
1 tbsp butter
1/2 cups whipping cream
2 tbsp Gorgonzola cheese, crumbled
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp white pepper
2 tbsp fresh chives, finely chopped

Cook the potatoes in a large pot of boiling water until tender, about 15 minutes. Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, heat the butter, whipping cream, Gorgonzola, salt and white pepper over low to medium heat until warm, stirring frequently. When potatoes are cooked to fork tender, drain well and return them to the pot. Slowly add the warm cream mixture to the potatoes, mashing and blending well to your desired consistency, then stir in the chives. Taste and re-season with salt and pepper. Cover and keep warm until needed.

To make the sauce, cook the wine and shallot in a saucepan over high heat, stirring until the wine almost evaporates and looks glazy, 5 to 8 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and whisk in the butter a couple of cubes at a time until it's melted and the sauce becomes thick and creamy, briefly returning the pan to low heat if the butter is slow to melt. Off the heat, stir in the dill, lemon zest, lemon juice, 1/2 tsp salt, and several grinds of pepper. Cover and set aside on low heat to keep warm.

Meanwhile, heat another saucepan over a medium to high heat. Add the remaining tablespoon of butter and the spinach to the pan and sauté for 2 or 3 minutes, until the spinach begins to wilt. Season the spinach to taste with salt and pepper, cover and set side on low heat.

Heat a large nonstick sauté pan over a moderate to high heat until it is hot, then add 1 tablespoon of olive oil to the pan then add the fish, skin side down. Cook the fish for 4 minutes until the skin is crisp and golden. Turn the fish over and cook 3 to 4 minutes. Add a squeeze the lemon juice over the fish, and cook for another minute or two, basting the fish with the juices in the pan, or until the fish is just cooked through but still moist.

To serve, place a mound of spinach in the center of 2 warm dinner plates, top with a scoop of gorgonzola mashed potato, and finish with a Mahi-Mahi fillet on top. Drizzle the lemon beurre blanc around the plate and garnish with finely chopped red and green baby frillice lettuce, some chopped chives and serve.

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