Sunday, April 4, 2010

Blackened Mahi Mahi

Mahi mahi is a damn good meal when prepared correctly, but I always had a little voice in the back of my head when I make it, telling me, “You shouldn’t be eating this.” In Hawaiian, mahi mahi is known as the dolphin fish. Until writing this, I had thought it was a dolphin so that made me feel guilty. I was buying dolphin safe tuna but thought I was buying and eating dolphin steaks basically.

Luckily, I found out otherwise: according to Wikipedia, the mahi mahi is not a dolphin. However, it may not be as healthy as we thought: “The Monterey Bay Aquarium classifies mahi-mahi, when caught in the US, as a ‘Good Alternative’, the middle of its three environmental impact categories. The Aquarium advises to ‘Avoid’ imported mahi-mahi.” Avoiding imported mahi mahi might be harder than I thought. We just bought another bag of mahi lions at BJ’s the other day and the variety they sell is either from Ecuador or Cambodia, I believe. Although it would have been nice to know a little more as to why we should limit our monthly mahi consumption.

In the meantime, since my husband had a taste for blackened mahi mahi, it was time to hit the internet in search of a recipe. (We had first tried blackened mahi mahi at a restaurant in Tampa a few years ago at Crabby Bill’s).

The recipe we settled on was from GaGa in the Kitchen’s blog.

- Mahi Mahi or any other "meaty" fish
- Salt
- Pepper
- Paprika
- Oregano
- Onion powder
- Garlic powder
- Cayenne
- Cumin

Mix the spices in a bowl and pat a nice generous layer on to both sides of the fish filet. I even had some scallops that I coated and tossed into the pan with the mahi mahi.

Heat a nice heavy-bottomed pan (GaGa used a cast iron pot but I just used a regular deep skillet) until smoking hot.

If desired, add a bit of oil to the pan, though GaGa found it wasn't necessary. For the first time for us making it, I thought a little “moisture” might help it along. I’m pretty sure the olive oil I would have used was expired so I tossed it and used some toasted sesame oil instead.

Put the fish in the pan and put the lid on. Don't touch it until a nice crust has formed (a few minutes, depending on how thick your fish is).

Flip the fish and repeat the step above and leave it in the pan until the fish has cooked through. I’d say that our loins took about 20 minutes or so to cool thoroughly.

My husband liked these pretty well, although I thought we went a little heavy on the paprika and cayenne. We used about ½-1 ½ tablespoons of each spice and even with the scallops, we had more than enough of the dry mixture. I think next time, we’ll tone it back a bit on the paprika and cayenne, and go a little heavier on the other spices, to see what kind of a taste we get.

This was a great recipe, and if you get the chance, let GaGa know what you thought of the recipe. It was posted in June 2009, but people are still leaving comments on it.

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