Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Mahi-mahi roasted with Tomatoes

Mexico is a country of rich coastal fisheries. There is a long Pacific coastline, the Bay of California, the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean. Therefore, it is no surprise that there is a lot of great fish cooking going on there. Fish is probably not what most people think about first for Mexican food. Yes, fish tacos have a gained a foothold in the US but these represent Ensenada, a single Pacific city's contribution to seafood cookery (and even that has been refracted through the lens of California cooking in the US). No denying the deliciousness of Baja fish tacos but there is much more swimming in from Mexico, a country with a rich and varied cuisine.

This is a simple yet impressive dish that uses the flavors of Mexico to great advantage. Though the recipe says mahi-mahi (called dorado in Spanish speaking countries), you could use fillets of rockfish, snapper, or corvina. Mahi-mahi is a delicious meaty fish. It's very common worldwide, so it is considered sustainable.

Mahi-Mahi Roasted with Tomatoes and Cilantro
(serves 4, costs $16 when mahi-mahi is $8/lb)

4 fillets of mahi-mahi, 5-6 oz. each, skin removed
salt and black pepper
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 bunch of scallions, thinly sliced
1 large clove garlic, minced
1 cup minced cilantro (or use parsley if you don't like cilantro)
4 large plum tomatoes, diced (or use 3 cups drained diced canned tomatoes)
¼ cup tequila mixed with ¼ cup water

Preheat oven to 450°F. Season mahi-mahi on both side with salt and pepper. Use 1 teaspoon of olive oil to grease a 9"x9" baking dish. Mix together the scallions, garlic, most of the cilantro (reserve about ¼ cup for garnish), tomatoes, ½ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon black pepper. Place ½ of the tomato mixture in the baking dish and lay the fish on top. Top with the remaining tomatoes. Drizzle with the rest of the olive oil and pour the tequila-water mixture around the fish. Bake for 20 minutes. The exact time will depend on the thickness of the fish fillets; mahi-mahi is usually 1" thick. The fish is done when it's no longer translucent and flakes easily with a fork. Garnish with cilantro and serve. Good with rice with spaghetti or roasted potatoes.

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