Being raised in the heart of the Midwest, I'm certainly a meat and potatoes kind of guy. But I do love seafood when it is fresh and prepared well. I recently had the opportunity to work with some Mahi Mahi and decided to go with a bit of an island theme to celebrate spring.
Mahi is a very mild, white/pink-fleshed fish. It's somewhat durable and can handle being grilled or pan seared. Since many fish are very mild in flavor, I try not to overdo it on seasoning and spice. Usually just some Maldon Sea Salt and fresh ground pepper. If I'm feeling like a bit more, I may use Old Bay or French Seasoning salt for a boost.
Fish is usually pretty soft, so I like to add contrast to balance out the dish. A nice thick Panko and Macadamia nut crust does nicely! Too much soft stuff on the plate and your mouth is looking for something to crunch on. This will accommodate our textural contrast.
Cast iron is a great way to pan fry fish, but if you don't have one, a good quality stainless skillet like the All Clad pans that we use in The Chopping Block's cooking classes are a great alternative. By the way, all of our stainless steel cookware is on sale for the rest of the month for 20% off!
Macadamia-Crusted Mahi Mahi with Grapefruit Beurre Blanc
For the fish:
4 Mahi Mahi filets, skin removed, 6 ounces each
Maldon sea salt and pepper to taste (or your favorite blend)
3 cups Panko bread crumbs
3/4 cup Macadamia nuts, not toasted
1 cup Buttermilk (you can use 2 eggs whisked together in place of the Buttermilk)
1 cup Rice flour (you can sub AP flour)
1/2 cup canola oil
1. Place the breadcrumbs in a food processor and mix a couple of seconds. Add the Macadamia nuts and pulse the mix in the food processor until they are ground in with the bread crumbs. Add a couple pinches of salt and mix well. Transfer this mix to a medium sized bowl.
2. Set up your breaking station by placing the flour in a medium bowl, add the buttermilk to a different medium bowl. Place the 3 bowls (flour, eggs and bread crumbs) near the stove where you will fry.
3. Heat up a large sauté or cast iron pan and add the canola oil. Allow the oil to get hot, approximately 375F.
4. Season both sides of each fish filet with Maldon salt and pepper.
5. Working one at a time, dip the filet in the flour and completely coat, shaking off the excess. Dip the filet in the Buttermilk completely and let the excess run off. Now dredge the filet in the bread crumb mix completely.
6. Place each filet in the oil and fry for approximately 6-7 minutes per side. Thickness of the filets will determine their cooking time.
7. Flip each filet once the first side and achieved a golden brown color. Cool an additional 5-6 minutes until done to you liking.
8. Top with Grapefruit-Lime Beurre Blanc or a tropical salsa of your liking!
For the Grapefruit-Lime Beurre Blanc:
1 shallot, chopped
2 sprigs thyme
1 bay leaf
5 whole peppercorns
1 cup white wine
Juice and zest from 1 lime
Juice from 1/2 grapefruit
1 stick butter, unsalted cut into cubes, room temp
2 Tablespoons heavy cream
Salt and pepper to taste
1. In a small sauce pan add the shallot, thyme, bay leaf, peppercorns, wine, citrus juice and zest. Bring to a rapid boil and cook this mixture until almost all of the liquid has cooked away.
2. Turn the flame to low and add the cream bringing to a slow simmer. Simmer 1-2 minutes to thicken a bit.
3. Begin to swirl in the butter 2-3 chunks at a time and constantly mix until the have melted.
Tip: Do not let this mixture simmer or it will separate! If you see bubbling on the edges, turn off the heat, add more butter and then turn the flame back on for a few moments at a time as you continue.
4. Once all of the butter has been melted, you should have a smooth creamy sauce. Strain through a fine mesh strainer. Season with salt and pepper and serve with supremes of grapefruit to garnish.
I served mine with some grilled baby potatoes, but rice or noodles are a great side to serve with this as well!
For more spring fish ideas, join us for Seafood 101: Spring Menu:
If you need better access to fresh seafood, check out Hooked on Fish which works like a CSA for fish. Each week, members have access to two of the freshest, tastiest fish that can be sourced. The fish comes early in the morning, and is delivered that afternoon to various locations around Chicago for easy pick-up, including both locations of The Chopping Block.