Friday, September 28, 2012

"Pesto" Crusted Mahi Mahi with Asparagus

I've become a little obsessed with coating fish with panko.  It's easy, relatively quick, and there are tons of variations!  This picture is terrible, but my camera was telling me it had .0001 seconds of battery life left and so I didn't get a chance to redo it. The crust looks burned, but it really wasn't that bad.  That said, I don't recommend the power burner for heating oil  Just sayin'.

The sauce from the asparagus goes well with the fish, too!
The pesto crust was actually my husband's idea.  It worked really well because my basil plants look like something out of a zombie movie where everyone is gone and all the vegetation has been left untended.  So this was a good way to use up a lot of the basil.  The crust definitely had a pesto-ish flavor.  I didn't include any pine nuts because I felt like that would have been too many ingredients.  I added a good bit of Parmesan cheese, but I couldn't taste it.  Next time I would probably leave cheese out entirely and switch to pine nuts or hazelnuts.  Or I'd add a cheese with a stronger flavor.

The asparagus side dish is easy and awesome!  It's from Mario Batali's Molto Italiano. It will definitely be on my regular rotation of side dishes.  I've always got a random egg sitting around.  I was initially skeptical of a dressing that contained egg white and involved sprinkling the yolk on top.  I dislike egg yolk.  When I make egg salad sandwiches, most of the yolks go to my dog, who appreciates them way more than I do.  But, it totally works with this dish! Mario Batali specifies jumbo asparagus and I definitely think that skinny asparagus would not work as well.  I'd give this side dish a pass if you can't find large asparagus spears. After breaking off the woody ends of the thick asparagus spears, I peeled the bottoms to remove the lower spines and make it more tender. I used less salt and less olive oil for a lower calorie side dish. 

The fish and asparagus make a great meal served with a side salad.  If I wanted to add a starch I'd probably do rice pilaf from a box or cous cous to make it easy on myself if it was a work night.

"Pesto" Crusted Mahi Mahi
Original Recipe
Serves 2

2 mahi mahi filets (preferably the same size)
~1/2 cup panko
~1/8 cup flour
1 egg, beaten
salt and pepper
~ 1/4 cup basil, finely chopped.  (I used a mezzeluna, it was easier than a knife)
4 garlic cloves, peeled and minced or crushed using a garlic press
~1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 Tbsp olive oil


1) Put the flour on a plate and season it with salt and pepper.  Then crack the egg and pour it into a dish that will hold the fish filets one at a time.  Beat the egg.

2) Mix the panko, basil, garlic, and Parmesan together on a plate.

3) Heat the olive oil in a nonstick pan. One at a time, coat the filets in flour, egg, and panko mixture. Make sure to press down a little on the fish when you're coating it in the panko so you get plenty of breading.

4) Place the filet in the pan and repeat with the other one.  Cook the filets until the breading is browned and the fish is cooked.  I cooked the mahi mahi to 145 degrees F.  Serve on a plate with side dishes of choice.

Roasted Asparagus with Capers and Eggs
From Molto Italiano by Mario Batali
Serves 2

1 bunch jumbo asparagus
2 Tbsp olive oil plus another 1 Tbsp separate
1 tsp sea salt or to taste
2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
2 Tbsp tiny capers
1 hard boiled egg, yolk and white separated and chopped
1 scallion, thinly sliced
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper

1) Preheat your oven to 500 F.

2) Break off the fibrous bottoms of the asparagus stalks. (Optional:  then peel the lower 1 inch of each stalk to remove spines).

3) Place asparagus on a baking sheet lined with tin foil and drizzle with 2 Tbsp olive oil.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper and toss to coat well.

4) Cook for 8 minutes, turning the asparagus once.

5) While asparagus is cooking, grab a bowl and mix together the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil, vinegar, capers, chopped egg white, and scallion. Season with salt and pepper.

6) Serve the asparagus with the dressing drizzled over it and then top with chopped egg yolk.

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