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July 6, 2017

Mahi Mahi with Basil Shallot Butter & Roasted Tomatoes

So by now my regular readers should know I'm in Chicago for the summer. I spent a full day driving all the way across the country for what I expected to be a somewhat cool, breezy summer. After all, it is the Windy City and it is known for being extremely cold for 80% of the year. It's not. I have no idea how I drove so far north and it's just as hot and humid as Atlanta but without the Waffle House. Luckily, there's plenty of amazing seasonal produce to make it worth it. This dish tops fresh grilled fish with a rich, herby butter and juicy roasted tomatoes for a picture-perfect dish you'll be eating all summer long (regardless of the heat).


I chose mahi mahi for this dish, but any firm white fish will work; you just want it to be able to stand up to the grill without sticking or flaking. I marinate it in a simple mixture of olive oil, brown sugar, herbs, and spices so that it has some flavor but lets the other components of the dish shine. Since it's so simple, you only need to let it infuse for an hour, though a little longer won't hurt at all.


The tomatoes are also extremely easy to prepare. I take a ton of cherry tomatoes (the rainbow ones for aesthetic purposes), cut them in half, toss with olive oil, and roast under high heat for a few minutes or until tender. Roasting adds a hint of charred flavor that complements the grilled fish and brings out their natural sweetness.


What makes this dish so special is the butter. You can slather this stuff on other fish, chicken, steak, or even a shoe and it would taste delicious. It starts by sauteeing a thinly sliced shallot to reduce some of the sharpness and make it easier to blend into the butter. That gets mixed with basil in a food processor along with some seasoning, then I throw in some softened butter and it's ready to go. To kick it up a notch, you could add some more herbs, some chiles, and/or a drizzle of honey depending on what direction you want to go in. Compound butters make everything taste better; just look at my grilled ribeye with rosemary vidalia butter.


Grilled fish is one of my favorite dinners, especially in the summer. It's light, healthy, and incredibly quick and easy. However, it has the potential to be pretty bland, so adding a compound butter and some roasted vegetables takes advantage of all the seasonal produce and makes sure you have an unbeatable dinner. With this heat it seems like summer is endless, but you can easily transition to fall and other seasons by switching up the vegetables. Try some roasted carrots, root veggies, or squash depending on what you can find in the grocery store.


1 1/2 lbs Mahi Mahi
1/4 Cup + 2 T Olive Oil
1/2 Stick Butter, Softened
1 T Brown Sugar
3 Cloves Garlic, Minced
3 Sprigs Thyme
1 Shallot
3 T Chicken Broth
3/4 Cup Basil Leaves
1 Cup Cherry Tomatoes, Halved

Combine 1/4 cup olive oil, brown sugar, garlic, and thyme. Season with salt and pepper. Marinate the fish in the olive oil for at least an hour.

Slice the shallot thinly. Heat some oil in a skillet and cook the shallot for 4 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Add the chicken broth and cook for 14 minutes or until tender and the liquid evaporates. Set aside to cool.

Heat oven to 400F.

In a food processor, pulse the shallots with the basil until fine. Add the butter, season with salt and pepper, and pulse until uniform.

Heat a grill or grill pan.

Toss the cherry tomatoes with the remaining olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Spread the tomatoes on a baking sheet and roast for 8 minutes or until tender.

Grill the fish until browned and cooked through, about 5 minutes on each side. Serve with the basil shallot butter and the roasted tomatoes.

Serves 4-6
Inspired by Bon Appetit

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