Saturday, September 8, 2012

Cashew-Encrusted Mahi Mahi with a Rum Butter Sauce

I love fish. I don't really understand people who don't like fish. I especially don't understand the people who say they don't like fish because it tastes "too fishy." I do think I know what people are talking about, but if a fish is prepared well,  it shouldn't taste fishy. The fish should absorb the flavors of the spices or coatings that it is made with. One of my favorite fish dishes that I have made is this cashew-encrusted Mahi Mahi. I adapted the fish and sauce recipe from the McCormick & Schmick cookbook.

I was really happy to come across this recipe. I had tried to encrust fish on my own before, and the results were always disastrous. The coating would never stick and I'd end up practically in tears by the time I was finished cooking the fish - and the meal would usually end up in the trashcan. So much time and effort (and money) wasted. So, when I followed this recipe and the coating stuck, I was ecstatic. I was also excited because it tasted so yummy! It does make a mess and it does take some time, but it is worth it in the end. If you don't want to make a rum sauce, the fish actually is really good without any sauce at all. Or you can find some other sauce recipes online. Enjoy!

Recipe for Cashew-Encrusted Mahi Mahi with a Rum Butter Sauce
2 pieces of Mahi Mahi (about 6 ounces each)
Flour for dusting
2 eggs
2 Tbsp. of milk
1 1/4 cup of unsalted cashews
1/4 cup of vegetable oil
Chopped red and yellow bell peppers, for garnish
Rum butter sauce (recipe below)

First, ground the cashews. Place them in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade. Pulse until the cashews are finely ground. Pour the ground cashews into a large bowl. Set aside.
In a medium-sized bowl, beat the two eggs together. Mix in the 2 Tbsp. of milk. Set aside.
Dust the 2 pieces of fish with flour (make sure the fish is fully thawed and patted dry before dusting). Dip one piece of fish in the egg mixture, and then immediately dip in the ground cashews. Make sure to coat the piece of fish entirely with cashews, then set it on a large plate. Dip the next piece of fish in the egg mixture and cashew mixture, and place it on the plate with the other piece. Place the fish in the refrigerator for an hour. If you are using the rum butter sauce or another type of sauce, now would be a good time to make it while the fish is resting in the fridge.
When you are ready to cook the fish, place the 1/4 cup of oil in a large electric skillet. Turn the skillet on medium heat. Once the oil is hot enough, place the coated fish in the skillet. If needed, adjust the skillet temperature. Cook the fish for about 4 - 5 minutes. Carefully flip each piece of fish and let cook for another 3 - 4 minutes; longer if needed. The cashew crust should be golden brown in color when it is done.
Top fish with the diced bell peppers. Drizzle the fish with the rum butter sauce or serve it on the side for dipping. Serve fish with your favorite sides. It pairs well with plain rice and steamed asparagus.

For the rum butter sauce
1 vanilla bean
1 1/2 Tbsp. of light rum
1 1/2 Tbsp. of dark rum
1 Tbsp. of freshly squeezed lime juice
1 jalapeno pepper, chopped very finely (seeds and veins for heat; removed for less heat)
1 Tbsp. of sugar
5 Tbsp. of unsalted butter; cold & cut into 1-inch pieces

Cut the vanilla bean down the middle. Place it into a small saucepan. Add in the light and dark rum, lime juice, jalapeno pepper, and sugar. Place the saucepan over medium heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until the mixture is reduced to just a couple of tablespoons.
Remove the saucepan from the heat. Stir in a few pieces of the butter and stir the butter until it melts. Continue to add a few pieces of butter at a time, allowing it to melt before adding in any more. Keep the sauce on the stove until ready to serve, but do not keep it over direct heat.

Recipe Adapted from: McCormick & Schmick's Seafood Restaurant Cookbook - Second Edition

Yes, the picture is a little random - but posting this recipe reminded me
of the sailboat charter trip I took with Greg to the British Virgin Islands.
In BVI, it's not an option to not eat fish or seafood for dinner!