I mostly cook French/Mediterranean/California style cooking, but sometimes I just want something different. More flavors, more spices-a trip beyond the Mediterranean. This dish is all about something new – going a bit beyond my comfort zone as far as recipe development. It may look like a lot of ingredients, but trust me, this dish is well worth it. Warm, balanced, flavorful, delicious. It’s like a vacation for your palate – no passport necessary. (Bonus: it’s a sustainable seafood dish!)
Mahi Mahi Curry
Yield: 4 servings
3 tablespoons coconut oil, divided
1 large yellow onion, diced small, 3 cups
1 fennel bulb, diced small, 2 cups
6 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
1 serrano pepper, seeded and deveined, diced small
1 tablespoon ginger, peeled and minced
2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
1 ¼ teaspoon ground cumin
1 ¼ teaspoon ground fennel
¾ teaspoon turmeric
1 sprig fresh curry (approximately 16 fresh curry leaves)
¾ teaspoon garam malasa
1 yellow bell pepper, seeded and julienned
1/2 pound small red potatoes, sliced into ¼-inch thick rounds
1 14-ounce can light coconut milk
1 cup chicken or vegetable stock
1 ¼ pounds US Atlantic mahi mahi filets, cut into 6 equal sized pieces
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 cup quartered cherry or grape tomatoes
½ cup roughly chopped fresh cilantro
1 lemon, halved
In an oval Dutch oven over medium-high heat add 1 ½ tablespoons coconut oil. Heat the oil until it’s shimmering, approximately 1 minute.
Add the onion and fennel and cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent and lightly caramelized, approximately 6 to 8 minutes.
Add garlic, Serrano pepper, ginger, 1 teaspoon kosher salt, cumin, fennel, turmeric, curry leaves and garam masala. Stir and cook for 1 to 2 minutes, until fragrant.
Add 1 to 2 tablespoons water if pan feels dry after adding the spices and then add bell pepper. Stir and scrape the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon to break up any brown bits. Continue cooking, stirring occasionally, for approximately 3 to 5 minutes, until bell pepper has softened.
Add the potatoes, coconut milk and stock. Stir and cover. Let simmer on medium-low for 20 to 30 minutes, until the potatoes are al dente.
In the meantime, remove fish from refrigerator. Pat dry and season (both sides) with 1 teaspoon of salt and the black pepper.
In large sauté pan oven over high heat add 1 ½ tablespoons coconut oil. Heat the oil until it starts to smoke, approximately 1 minute.
Add fish pieces and let cook, undisturbed, for 2 to 3 minutes, until the fish is seared nicely on one side. Remove fish from the pan and set aside.
Going back to your oval dutch oven, once potatoes are al dente, add the tomatoes, stir and then nestle fish pieces in the pan, seared side up, and continue simmering, uncovered, for 15 to 25 minutes until fish flakes apart easily. If your filets are thin, it will take a shorter amount of time, so check on your fish for doneness frequently. (My oval dutch oven had an inner ring of rapid simmering liquid in the center of the pan and I nestled my fish around that inner circle of bubbliness so it wasn’t directly in the boil, but just snuggled up to it.)
Remove from heat, squeeze half a lemon over and season to taste with salt, pepper and additional lemon as needed. Garnish with cilantro and serve to hungry guests. Have lemon wedges on hand.