Friday, August 22, 2008

Pink Peppercorn Mahimahi with Tropical Salsa

It’s probably just my imagination, but the stack of recipes which I have tried and have yet to review here seems to be diminishing.

We’ll bounce forward and I will review dinner from just a few nights ago.

I wanted to try the frozen mahi-mahi which I picked up at Trader Joe’s a couple of weeks ago ($5.49/or so per pound). I started to flip through my more recent cooking magazines for inspiration and found it in Cooking Light’s August 2008 issue.

Pink Peppercorn Mahimahi with Tropical Salsa

I actually had most of the ingredients on hand for this except the pineapple. Well, I did have canned pineapple but no fresh, and I did have a ripe mango that needed to be used soon, so I subbed mango.

Other substitutions:

* unsweetened coconut for sweetened, flaked

* Pickapeppa sauce for the fresh jalapeno (which, until I was actually ready to chop it, I was positive that I had on hand). Note, the Pickapeppa, while contributing just a bite of heat and some of that wonderful Pickapeppa-flavor, is a thick, dark brown condiment and it darkened the salsa just a bit.

* chopped cashews for macadamia nuts

Now, one substitution that I made even though I had the ingredient on hand was that I used lowfat half & half and coconut extract (1:24, or thereabouts) for the coconut milk. I just didn’t feel like opening a can to use that small amount. Whereas I use a lot of light coconut milk in the cooler months (mainly for curries), I just don’t have need of it in the heat of summer.

This was a really flavorful fish recipe. Although I mostly grill fish in the summer, it was a bit cooler than usual and I turned on the stove for a little while (I can do that-- my restaurant-style stove has a gas shutoff valve at the wall where the line comes in, and with 13 pilot lights adding unnecessary heat into my un-airconditioned house, the stove remains off for a lot of the summer). I did, however, use the toaster oven to bake the fillets in after they were browned because it’s just silly to heat an oven to bake something for 10 minutes.

The only change I would make to the recipe (um, other than those already made by subbing ingredients!) would be to serve the salsa separately. The cashew-and-panko crust was wonderfully crunchy, but soon after the salsa was spooned over it became soggy. Still very good, but soggy…

I also think that the salsa would go well over plain grilled fish fillets to dress them up. In fact, I used the entire recipe of salsa for our dinner even though I only prepared half of the amount of fish called for because it was that good. And more fruit cannot be a bad thing...

Although I actually had pink peppercorns on hand, I have never used them whole and this was a revelation. I thought that it may be the same as black peppercorns which I occasionally bite into whole and they bring tears to my eyes, but this was not the case with the pink variety. They crunched and added a little of the pepper flavor, but it was as a mild, sweetish note. Quite interesting!

As a side, I made rice and pigeon peas, using 1/12 cups water, ¾ cup parboiled rice, ¼ cup Goya sofrito tomato cooking base (which contains tomato, bell peppers, onions, garlic, and cilantro), ½ teaspoon smoked paprika, and 1 tablespoon chopped cilantro as a garnish. Quick, good, and side-dish appropriate… ;)

Now, a photo of my "accidental melon patch". :)

I haven't planted cantaloupe in years, ever since I coddled a single plant and, in one short night, a mouse nibbled a hole in all 3 of the fruits and snacked from the inside out.

I planted my garden late this year, because we were on vacation for the last 2 weeks of June and to put anything in before leaving would just invite the local wild animals in for a meal. So when I was finally ready to do this, a couple of recognizable plants were already growing. What I thought were 3 squash plants, in a relatively straight row, turned out to be these. There are a total of 14 on the 3 sets of vines-- wish us luck!

These are most likely seeds from cantaloupe which I used last year and put in the compost, which was spread in the garden early this spring and tilled in. And I may have a honeydew, but it's too early to tell.


Laura said...

I LOVE volunteer plants. Good luck with the the melon.

Your dish sounds wonderful--it might get me to eat fish. ;)

Kitchen Queen Victoria said...

Laura, this shocks me-- you don't eat fish?! :) Whyever not? Don't like the taste, don't like the smell as it cooks, perhaps a bad Jaws-like experience at the beach, hmmmm? ;)