It's been a balmy weekend in Bal'more, with the temperature rising from 8 degrees on Friday morning to 68 midday Sunday. As the inches deep ice of two weeks ago melts and sends rivulets of muddy water streaming down to replenish our pond, I entertain dreams that spring is here. I'm sure that in the coming weeks more snow will fall, and once again I'll break out the jackets and boots and once again my thoughts will be occupied with chilis, soups and braises. But right now I'm dreaming of summers off, reading a book in the sun on the deck, napping in hammocks.
My daily attitude towards life is always reflected in my food. Today it was tropical, sun-loving and light. This meal would probably enrage any locovore. But its just what we need to cut through the grey cold of winter.
Sear roasting lends great flavor to the fish, while locking in its moisture so it cooks perfectly. One note - it will smoke. Do this on a day when you can open the windows.
Sear-Roasted Mahi-Mahi with Coconut-Macademia Crust and Tropical Cous Cous
2 tsp coconut oil
8 oz mahi-mahi, skin removed and cut into two 4 oz pieces
2 Tbsp chopped macadamias
2 Tbsp shredded coconut
14.5 oz light coconut milk
1/4 cup orange mango juice
1 Tbsp lime juice
1 Tbsp Tom Yum paste
1 Tbsp sriracha sauce
1 1/2 cups cous-cous (I used tri-color)
1 1/2 cups frozen mixed vegetables
2 large scallions, sliced thin on the bias
1/2 cup chopped fresh pineapple
store-bought mango peach salsa
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. In an oven-safe skillet, heat oil over high heat, then add fish. Sear until bottom is golden brown, then flip. Sear until that side is golden. Press macadamia nuts onto fish, then press on coconut. Put in the oven to finish cooking. Fish is usually perfectly done when coconut becomes a beautiful deep brown.
Meanwhile, combine coconut milk, juices, tom yum paste and sriracha in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, then stir in cous-cous and veggies, then remove from the heat. Let sit for 5 minutes, then stir in scallions and fluff with a fork.
Serve fish on top of cous-cous, with fresh pineapple on top and salsa on the side.