This time of year, we tend to get very sidetracked by our go-to food: barbecued chicken and steak. We’ve got them down…no thinking required. Defrost, season, grill. The rotation of side dishes includes salad, corn on the cob, stuffed tomatoes, garlic bread, and rice. I can’t even guess how many times we’ve had this meal in some form, but every time we do, we shovel the food into our mouths as if it is the best thing we’ve ever eaten. And at that moment, it is. It makes for the perfect summer dinner.
Breaking out of ruts can be hard. We do have to push ourselves a little to eat more fish. When we do, we usually ask why we don’t eat it more often. After having this dish, we asked why we don’t eat it every night, ruts be damned.
Typically, I make mahi-mahi encrusted in macadamia nuts. It’s a classic combination that always reminds me of Hawaii, and there are worse things than reminiscing about Hawaii. But I’m trying to think outside the box, and mahi, being a firm, hearty fish, can stand up to a more substantial crust. Enter prosciutto.
Prosciutto is very near the top of my favorites list. As I stood in front of the open refrigerator looking for ideas for a new mahi recipe, I saw the prosciutto. It is paper thin, so as not to overwhelm the fish, and when wrapped around each piece would help ensure a very moist filet. Plus, it tastes like bacon. Sold.
Start by seasoning the fish with pepper (the prosciutto is plenty salty), then rubbing it with a mixture of chopped herbs, garlic and olive oil. I used fresh rosemary, thyme and dried oregano, but any blend of herbs would work. Let the fish sit and marinate for a bit.
When you're ready to cook, wrap each piece of mahi in a slice (or two, depending on the size) of prosciutto to completely encase it and sprinkle the top with a little more pepper.
Heat an olive oil in an ovenproof stainless pan over fairly high heat until the oil is almost smoking. You're looking for a sear here, so the pan needs to be HOT. Place the filets in the pan, seam side up and don't touch them for a minute or two. Once the prosciutto is browned, flip the mahi over, let the bottom sear for a minute, then immediately transfer the pan into a preheated 300° oven to finish cooking. The thickness of the fish will determine the cooking time, but it won't be more than 8-10 minutes, max.
When it comes out of the oven, it should be crispy on the outside, but tender and juicy on the inside. The saltiness of the prosciutto and the freshness of the herbs make a perfect combination of flavors. Served alongside rosemary-shallot mashed potatoes, this was quite a satisfying meal.
(Of course, if you don’t have the love-affaire with pork products that I do, you could leave the prosciutto off. The fish will still get a nice sear by using the method described above.)
The picture does the dish more justice than I could by trying to describe it. My mouth is watering just looking at it.
I think I just decided what we’re having for dinner tonight.