Mahi mahi takes well to tropical-themed preparations, such as this creative twist on fried fish from Ben Sargent's new cookbook, The Catch. Instead of breading or battering the fish, Sargent coats the mahi mahi fillets with a thin layer of crushed plantain chips. The chips make for an ultra-crisp coating on the fish, and add needed sweet richness to the lean fish. A big spoonful of pineapple and tomatillo salsa is a perfect accompaniment, adding bright freshness to the fried fillet.
Why I picked this recipe: Who wouldn't want to eat fried fish coated in plantain chips?
What worked: The flavors here were great—the tart pineapple-tomatillo salsa was a good foil to the savory mahi mahi and sweet plantain chips.
What didn't: You've got to be careful not to burn the coating on the fish. I ended up cooking the fillets on medium heat the entire time to prevent the chips from getting too dark. Thinner fillets will work the best.
Suggested tweaks: You can play around with the salsa to suit your taste. Keep in balance sweet and tart fruit to provide a tangy counterpoint to the fish. If you can't find mahi mahi, you can substitute another lean, firm-textured fish.
Reprinted with permission from The Catch: Sea-to-Table Recipes, Stories & Secrets by Ben Sargent with Peter Kaminsky. Copyright 2013. Published by Clarkson Potter, an imprint of the Crown Publishing Group, a division of Random House. All rights reserved. Available wherever books are sold.
- Yield:Serves 4 to 6
- Active time: 35 minutes
- Total time:35 minutes
- 1 small garlic clove, minced
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/2 medium red onion, finely diced and rinsed with cold water, drained
- Finely grated zest of 1 lime
- 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
- 2 cups 1/2-inch diced pineapple
- 2 tomatillos, husked, washed and dried, and cut into eighths
- 1 large plum tomato, cut into 1/2-inch dice
- 1 small red bell pepper, cored, seeded, and cut into 1/4-inch dice
- 1 small green bell pepper, cored, seeded, and cut into 1/4-inch dice
- 1 serrano or jalapeño, minced
- 6 (6-ounce) mahi mahi fillets, skinned
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 1 cup plantain chips, finely crushed with a rolling pin
- Vegetable oil, for frying
In a large bowl, combine the garlic with a pinch of salt and 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and let stand for 5 minutes. Add the onion, lime zest, and the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Let stand for 5 minutes. Add the lime juice, pineapple, tomatillos, tomato, red and green bell peppers, and the serrano and mix well. Season with salt.
Season the mahi mahi with salt. Put the eggs and plantain chips in separate shallow bowls. Dip the fish in the egg, letting excess drip off. Then dredge the fish in the chips to coat well.
In 2 large skillets, heat 1/4 inch of vegetable oil until shimmering. Cook the fish in the skillets, leaving some room between each piece for even cooking. Cook over medium-high heat for 1 minute. Reduce the heat to medium and cook until browned and crisp, about 3 minutes. Turn the fish and cook about 4 minutes or longer, until the fish flakes and the other side is crisp. Adjust the heat as needed if the crust starts to brown too quickly.
Place the fish on plates and pass the pineapple salsa at the table.