Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Pan Seared Mahi Mahi with Garlicky Kale

To call this pan seared is a bit of a misnomer because it also poaches/steams a bit which I think keeps it extra moist. It's CSA season again and that means its time to amp up the vegetables in our diets. Last weeks pickup included garlic scapes, red russian kale, salad greens, snap peas, radishes and tarragon. All of which hit the table tonight.

For the greens:

About 1/2 lb of washed chopped kale (The red russian kale is more tender than most of the heartier kale you see in stores so if you need a replacement go for spinach or swiss chard.)
5-6 garlic scapes (garlic scapes are really mild and are tough to directly replace, however a couple cloves of garlic will work)
Olive oil
White wine vinegar

Heat up some olive oil on medium low, finely chop up the garlic scapes and add them to the oil. Sprinkle with some kosher salt and saute the scapes until they are soft but not browned.
Add your chopped kale and turn up the heat to medium, saute until the greens are wilted and then add a splash of vinegar and more salt and pepper to taste. Mound them up on a plate to recive your fish.

We almost always have frozen mahi mahi, salmon and tuna in the freezer. As much as I love fresh fish, sometimes it is hard to meal plan for it.  One of the things I like about the frozen fish is that thawing and marinating can happen at the same time.

For the Fish

Mahi Mahi fillets (2 or more)
12-14 tarragon leaves
Rice wine vinegar
Olive oil

Put the (frozen)fish in a ziploc bag, chop the tarragon and add it to the bag. Add 2-3 Tbsp of vinegar and olive oil, a sprinkling of kosher salt and about a tsp of honey. You want enough marinade to fully coat the fish and leave 1/4 to 1/2 inch on the bottom oof the bag surrounding the fish. If you remember to do this in time you can do this in the am and thaw in the fridge all day. If you don't remember to do this until later, you can put the whole bag into a bowl and run cold water over it for a while, leave the water running, the movement will it help it thaw faster.
Once your fish is thawed heat up a pan with some olive oil until the oil is nice and hot. Add the filets to the hot pan and cook for a couple minutes, then flip and cook on the other side. After a minute or two reduce the heat and add the remaining marinade to the pan and cover it for 2-4 mintues until the fish is cooked through but not flaking.
Remove the fish and turn up the heat to reduce the remaining marinade, add about 1 Tbsp of butter and stir until it is melted. Then pour over the fish and a bed of garlicky kale.

We served it with a nice green salad with greens, radishes and snap peas from the CSA and all was right with the world. Or at least with dinner.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Santa Maria Tri Tip with Salsa

In planning for our Memorial Day BBQ I  wanted a large slab of meat type dish rather than individual portions, somehow I got tri tip into my mind. Tri tip is not a very popular cut in the Northeast and we are missing out.Thankfully I was able to order it from a local meat store. I have only had it a few times and it is consistently amazing. Enter Santa Maria Tri Tip with salsa. I served it with the recommended Santa Maria beans and grilled garlic bread, which was outstanding.

Soak some wood chips the night before, tradition says red oak, good luck finding it around here, I went with apple wood.
You only need to rub the tri tip down a few hours ahead of time and it only needs to grill for 1/2 hour or so. Since it is truly a steak it is best served medium to medium rare rather than something like a brisket that needs to slow cook a long time. I had two smaller tri tips rather than one large one so I doubled the recipe

For the Rub
4 tsp Kosher Salt
4 tsp Black Pepper
4 tsp Garlic Powder
4 tsp Dried Rosemary
2 tsp Dried Oregano

Mix all the dry ingredients together in a bowl then rub into the meat, let the meat set for at least an hour but longer is fine.  The book recommends using a two zone fire for cooking, simply put you have your grill set up to be medium-high in one half and just under medium on the other, so if the outside is getting too done you can flip the meat to the cooler side. For charcoal (which is what I did) you can accomplish the same thing by having a double layer of coals on one side and single on the other.   Add your pre-soaked wood chips right before cooking. Cook for about 15 minutes per side or until the meat reaches an internal temp of about 135-140 then pull it off and let it rest for at least 5 minutes, 10 may be better. Slice it thin and lay it on a platter. Serve with grilled garlic bread.

For the Bread
Two Loaves of crusty Italian Bread
One stick butter
4 cloves garlic, chopped
handful of chopped fresh parsley

Melt the butter over medium heat and add the chopped garlic. You want to heat the butter until it bubbles then lower the temperature and let it cook for 10 minutes or so this will infuse the butter with garlic.
When the garlic butter is ready brush it onto one side of the bread. Lay the bread on the hot grill butter side down, watch it very very carefully as it will go from raw to cinder very quickly if you aren't careful. Flip to the other side for just a moment to toast it up a bit then sprinkle with fresh parsley and serve. On the plate, the bread soaks up the juices form the meat and the salsa, it is fantastic.  I may have just dropped a piece onto the meat platter, accidentally, and allowed it to soak up the juice. Accidentally of course.

For The Salsa
6 Tomatoes
4 Ribs Celery
6 Scallions
2 Jalapenos
1/2 Cup chopped Cilantro
4 Tbsp Lime Juice
2 Tbsp White vinegar
2 tsp Worcestershire
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp hot sauce
black pepper

I also doubled the salsa recipe as I wanted to have some hot and some mild. So I used 1/2  of a jalapeno in on batch and 1.5 jalapenos in the other.  I mixed up the whole batch, split it in half  then added the remaining jalapeno. The salsa gets served right on the meat if you are so inclined.

Add in the beans and a green salad and you have a complete meal.