Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Grilled Mahi Mahi with a Saffron Cream Sauce

Fish Special:  Grilled Mahi-Mahi with a saffron cream sauce and served on a bed of lemon rice and roasted asparagus

On Sunday, after my husband and I finished 9 holes of golf, I cooked up this beautiful and delicious dish. Earlier in the day, I stopped by the local fish market and picked up a fresh piece of Mahi-Mahi. I initially had wanted to pick up a piece of halibut for this dish, but the halibut was a bit expensive, so I went with another white fish, a little more in my price range. As always, use what looks best to you.

The fish had been flown in that morning so it was super fresh. In order to not overpower the natural flavor of the fish, I used a simple seasoning of salt and pepper. I cooked the fish on the grill, skin-side down for 10 minutes and at the last minute, I squeezed 1/2 a lemon on top of the fish. (See the bottom of this entry for tips on cooking fish on the grill)

A big part of this meal was the timing. I started the rice first, estimating it would take about 40 minutes. Once the rice was on, I started preparing the saffron cream sauce. After 25 minutes, I started the asparagus and dropped the fish on the grill after 30 minutes.

I wrapped the asparagus in aluminum foil with butter, garlic powder, red chili flakes, fresh thyme and salt & pepper. I placed the asparagus on the top shelf of the grill and let cook for 15 minutes.

Saffron Cream Sauce
Saffron is pretty expensive, so if you don't have it in your house, simply exclude it from the sauce and you will still have a lovely cream sauce to go with the fish. Also, there are many recipes for a saffron cream online, however I thought it would tasty and visually appealing to add tomatoes to the sauce. It sure did give the fish one last pop of color and texture. However, be sure not to cook the tomatoes too long otherwise they will break down and become mush.

1 diced shallot
2 minced garlic cloves
3 tbls butter
1 medium tomato diced
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/2- 1 cup heavy cream
2 pinches saffron
Cayenne pepper (to taste)

Saute shallots and garlic in the butter over medium high heat until shallots are translucent and garlic is lightly browned. Add tomatoes and saute for one more minute. Add white wine and cook until wine reduced by half- couple minutes. Then add heavy cream, saffron and cayenne pepper.

Lemon Rice
For the rice, I used slow cooking brown basmati rice.  I don't follow the cooking instructions on the bag, because I find that I never have enough water to properly cook the rice, based on the instructions. Here is how I do it, based on 1 cup of dry rice:

Step 1: Fill sauce pot with 2- 3 cups of water, add a pinch of salt and a bit of oil to the water. Bring to a boil.
Step 2: Add rice and lower heat to medium, a gentle boil
Step 3: Watch the pot over the next half hour, adding more water in 1/4 cup increments as needed. Continue tasting rice throughout cooking process to measure doneness.
Step 4: When rice is the texture of your liking, turn heat on high to remove any residual water, and squeeze a half of a lemon in the rice.

Cooking tips for cooking fish on the grill:
  • Don't mess with it once on the grill: I only cook fish on the grill if the skin is still on it, otherwise I will use a piece of aluminum. I don't like dealing with the filet falling apart, so I also do not flip the fish. 
  • Simple seasoning: When cooking with high quality fish, use only a simple seasoning of salt and pepper as to not mask the flavor of the fish.
  • Cook for 8-15 minutes depending on the thickness of the fish. When the fish is done, it should be flaky with a fork.
  • Lemon: When the fish is almost finished cooking, squeeze half a lemon on top.

Would you try this dish? Did you know that Dolphin Fish is the same thing as Mahi-Mahi?

Bon Appetit!