Friday, March 27, 2015

Can't win em all! Mahi Mahi and Lemon Sauce

I always say I share my failures as much as my successes in the kitchen. Today we're going to talk about one of those failures. While not a total flop (1 out of 3 isn't a TOTAL loss) it was enough to set me on a mission to perfect the mistakes and get this one right.

I was sooo super excited to see mahi mahi at our little grocery store the other day- and on SPECIAL as well. So much so that I bought it, and then agonized over how to use it. How do I want to cook it? What do I serve with it? Fruity flavors? Spicy flavors? 

The best mahi mahi I have ever had was at a restaurant in Des Moines called Dos Rios. They cut the mahi into little cubes, saute it and serve it in fish tacos. Let me tell you, it's so meaty and firm it was almost like chicken. But fish, and fresh tasting and absolutely delicious. I was leaning a little towards making fish tacos at home but didn't have everything I needed. Shelve that idea for another day. A quick browse through the pantry and fridge and I decide I'm just going to go with pan grilled. Throw some quinoa on the side and figure out a sauce.

Sometimes the best ideas just don't come to fruition. This would be one of those times. I used a tri-color quinoa blend and seasoned it with a French blend of seasonings (citrusy notes) and a teeny bit of butter. It was........ blah. Not special. I was disappointed. Flop #1.

The mahi turned out great. I patted the fish dry and lightly dredged in flour and the same French seasoning blend and some Feiny's Chesapeake Bay seasoning and pan grilled in butter. Letting it grill to a perfect golden brown slowly, in butter, was a great way to cook the fish. I could have eaten pounds of it and nothing else. 

Mahi is not he kind of fish you plop a blob of tartar sauce on the plate and call it good. You need something really special. Here is where Flop #2 occurs. Fish, being a relatively light protein, can use a substantial sauce. The quinoa was also light in flavor and texture, so I wanted a creamy sauce to accent these foods. I deglaze the pan with a little lemon juice, a splash of white wine, add some lemon zest, crushed dried thyme, and hit it with some half and half, heavy cream, and whisk is a bit of butter. 

Looks beautiful. Tastes...... like warm whipping cream. So, bump up the lemon juice and....... disaster. The sauce loses it's texture and is now too thin. Tastes better, definitely lemony, but I've lost that silky texture. Even worse, I think if I let it stand just a few minutes it will thicken up again. Sure does. Goes from liquid to a texture a lot like canned frosting in a matter of minutes. 

Oh well.........the fish was delicious anyway!!!!

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