Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Adventures in Dining - Everyone's A Critic


I must say about 9 out of 10 dinners are pretty well liked by my family. There are those times, however, when a recipe looks better on paper than when you actually make it. I wanted to make mahimahi tonight because tomorrow I was going to submit the recipe to Daily Buzz Food as a part of  their "Write With Us" program. I came across a recipe from Gourmet Magazine's Gourmet Today cookbook. With no picture, the recipe sounded interesting enough to try, but I would have to make a minor adjustment to the portions, and omit the cilantro which was in a pineapple salsa like condiment.  My husband really dislikes cilantro. I decided to substitute the cilantro by using ground coriander seeds. I had everything purchased and planned out. I was excited. I made the pineapple topping ahead of time, so I wasn't rushed trying to do it all at once. I tasted the mixture. I liked it. It was sweet and spicy. I thought I had a hit!

I wrapped some fresh corn in foil and placed the package on the upper rack of the grill so it could steam before I started to grill the fish. After the fish was done, I plated it and spooned the pineapple salsa mixture over the top, sprinkled with parsley, from my garden, and snapped a photo. It looked really good. I proudly presented the dish and sat down as everyone helped themselves. "This is 6 ounces." I told my husband. He is tracking his calories on an app.  I cautioned my family about a bone in the center. "The man at the store said there is a bone in the piece. If he had cut it out, the fish would have fallen apart." The table is silent. Everyone is eating. Usually a good sign when people are enjoying their food. I then asked, "So how is it?". My son immediately questions, "Is there garlic in with the pineapple?" I tried to somewhat play down the fact that there was garlic in with the pineapple by saying it was cooked, like it would be better if I said it was cooked. He then said, "Garlic doesn't belong with pineapple." Then my husband said that the pineapple mixture is too spicy. "I wish I had some warning that it was going to be spicy.", he says. Then my son chimes in, "Ya, pineapple should be sweet. And you said there was a bone, and I was looking for a bone, and there is no bone." And then to top it all off my son adds, "And the corn is under cooked. Plus, I know you guys are watching watching your weight, but these portions are ridiculous." Ah, out of the mouth of a growing boy, but sheesh!! The two of them really let me have it. Though they were giving me a hard time, it was all said in fun, and we laughed about it.  My son suggested that next time I season the fish so that it was slightly spicy, and keep the pineapple part sweet, and omit the garlic. So, I'm still going to give you this recipe with the suggested changes, because my family wants me to make it again. I appreciated the constructive criticism. But really, did they have to be right?  

Grilled Cajun Mahimahi with Pineapple  
Serves 4 to 6

2 cups fresh pineapple, cut in small chunks
2 1/2 tablespoons minced shallots
1 tablespoon fish sauce (found in Asian aisle at grocery store) could be optional
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 teaspoon coriander seeds, crushed
1/4 teaspoon salt or to taste
4 or 6 mahimahi  fillets - either 6 or 7 ounces.
Prepared Cajun spice seasoning mixture, from Emeril Lagasse or Paul Prudhomme

Heat oil in a medium sized pan over medium high heat. Add shallots and cook for 3 to 4 minutes, do not brown. Add pineapple, coriander, fish sauce (if using) and salt. Cook, stirring often, for about 5 minutes.  Allow mixture to cool down to room temperature.

For fish, season with Cajun spice mixture and brush both sides with olive oil. I brushed a non stick type grilling plate with olive oil too. Place fish skin side down and cook for 4 minutes. Turn fish over and cook another 4 minutes. Top with pineapple mixture.

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