An Easier Spicy Fish Meal
My husband and I love food television. Because we travel a lot, our PVR is constantly chugging away for us recording our favorite competitions. Thank goodness we upgraded our PVR to model with one terabyte of storage!
As much as I enjoy some of the cooking shows on TV, I do miss Julia Child and how she excelled in demonstrating classic techniques and flavors, always with a bit of humor. She had me hooked on monkfish when it was still considered a “trash” fish. Jeff Smith was great for learning about international tastes before I started to travel and experience them for real. And I so loved learning about the science of food on Alton Brown’s Good Eats – I’d like to see that one come back.
Interestingly, the “typical” cooking show viewer doesn’t cook at all – they tune in for the sport of it – I definitely not typical! I watch some chefs for flavor inspiration, and one of my favorites is Bobby Flay. Although he does a lot of grilling (we live in a city condo – no barbecue), his knack for using hot and spicy flavors is inspiring. Nothing better than a meal that makes you sweat and clears your sinuses – even when you are just watching!
This past weekend we watched an episode of Bobby’s Barbecue Addiction featuring spicy fish tacos. The recipe as Bobby laid it out was quite complicated and time-consuming – 39 ingredients! Not happening in my kitchen; I don’t think I use that many ingredients when I make a Christmas feast. However the mix of creamy avocado with garlic and jalapeno, crunchy citrus=dressed slaw and the spicy fish was classic combination.
Besides the flavors, I did love that Bobby used mahi mahi, an ocean-friendly fish: it is fast-growing and caught using hook and line, a method that does not cause significant habitat destruction. Unfortunately, mahi mahi is not a regular visitor to our local markets. Instead, I had some Pacific cod in the freezer to take its place. You could, in fact, use any filet, even salmon.
And at less than an hour from start to table, this was a perfect way to elevate just eating to a healthy dinner.
- Avocado Salad:
- ⅓ cup fresh cilantro leaves
- 1 large clove garlic
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- Juice of one lime
- ⅓ jalapeno pepper, seeded
- 2 small, ripe avocados
- 3 tablespoons chili powder
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon canola oil
- 2 (8 ounces each) mahi mahi or Pacific cod filets
- Purple Slaw:
- ¼ wedge of a medium purple cabbage
- 1 medium carrot
- ¼ cup lemon juice
- ¼ cup orange juice
- 1 tablespoon honey or agave syrup
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- ¼ cup fresh basil leaves, roughly chopped
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- ½ cup neutral flavored oil, such as canola
- For the Avocado Salad: Place the cilantro, garlic, salt, pepper, lime juice and jalapeno pepper in a blender or a small food processor. Pulse, occasionally stopping to scrape down the sides, until the mixture is finely minced. Dump this into a small mixing bowl.
- Pit and peel the avocados and chop them into small pieces. Add to the cilantro mix in the bowl and stir gently to combine. Taste and add salt and pepper as desired and then set aside.
- Preheat the oven to 375F.
- For the Fish: In a small bowl, mix the chili powder, cinnamon, cumin, garlic powder, and salt.
- Place 1 tablespoon of canola oil an oven-proof skillet over medium-high heat. Sprinkle both sides of the filets with the spice mixture and place in the heated pan. Cook, turning once, until the filets are lightly charred on both sides and then place the skillet in the preheated oven. Cook until the fish just begins to flake, about 10 minutes.
- For the Purple Slaw: In the meantime, grate the carrot using the large holes on a box grater or food processor, Chop the cabbage finely and combine with the grated carrot in a medium bowl.
- Place the orange juice, lemon juice, honey, mustard, basil leaves, salt and pepper in a blender (or use a a stick hand blender) and process until the basil is finely minced. With the motor running, slowly drizzle in the oil until emulsified. Pour half the dressing over the carrot and cabbage and mix well. Taste and add more dressing and salt and pepper as desired.
- Place one piece of cooked fish on each of two plates, along with half of each of the Avocado Salad and the Purple Slaw. Serve immediately.
Inspired by Bobby Flay’s Grilled Mahi Mahi Tacos with Red Cabbage Slaw, Tomato and Avocado Salsa and Pineapple Hot Sauce