Wednesday, October 17, 2007

As the Leaves are Changing

One of the benefits of my blogging endeavor is that I now have a reason to buy magazines like Gourmet and Bon Appétit, publications I have coveted for so long on grocery store lines but on which I have never had the will to spend those few dollars. I am just a poor student, after all. My blog is my new baby, my cause, and it places upon me the affirmative duty to broaden my horizons and learn more about the culinary world I have entered. This is one of the main reasons I started this endeavor - I really want to learn. I want to be inspired to try new things. And last week I learned that not all new, exciting things are difficult.

I turned to this month's Bon Appétit for dinner this week, to a simple-sounding yet intriguing dish perfect for an unseasonably warm fall evening. The green of the chutney popped off of the page, serving as a reminder of a summer recently lost. Every once in a while I have a tendency to get a little bit stressed out while cooking, but this dish was amazingly simple - I was handling multiple pans with ease. Maybe it's this new cause I've found - I am no longer making dinner, I'm cooking. I'm doing this because I really, really want to become great at this. I want to learn, but most of all I want to share. This has had a great calming effect on me in the kitchen. I'm doing something I truly love. Now that I've come out and entered this wonderful world of food, I can bask in all of its delicious glory.

Mahi-Mahi with Cilantro Chutney (from Bon Appétit, Volume 52, No. 10)

For the fish:

Cumin, salt, pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
Mahi Mahi - 6 to 8 ounce filets. The chutney is probably enough to liberally sauce 4 filets.

For the chutney:

1 large kiwi, cubed
1 large clove of garlic, peeled
2 teaspoons diced jalepeno
1 cup cilantro, tightly packed
1/4 cup coconut milk

Put all of the the chutney ingredients in a food processor (I used my blender, did the job just fine) and process into a coarse puree. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Sprinkle the fish liberally with salt, pepper and cumin on both sides. I thought I sprinkled mine pretty liberally, but the fish itself came out rather bland, so I would sprinkle very liberally. Heat the oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Saute the fish until opaque, about 5 minutes per side. Spoon chutney over the fish and serve.

I served the fish on top of brown basmati rice with a side of bok choy that I sauteed with shallots, garlic and ginger in sesame oil and then braised in cider vinegar and some soy sauce and water. I really didn't know what I was doing with it, but it worked out alright. In the end, I would have just cut it lengthwise and braised it in two pieces as opposed to chopping and cooking. The chutney is fantastic, incredibly flavorful and the color is really something. I almost felt badly putting the bok choy next to the fish, since it's green had faded in cooking, and it seemed to cruel to taunt it with the color it once had.

It was an almost tropical-feeling dish, conjuring up memories of summer as the leaves turn colors outside. The fish combined with the chutney really well, and would work well as the main elements of a fish taco. The dish is a quick-fix meal with just enough flair and is really, truly simple.

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