Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Final XMas Break Fish Tuesday

As you may have noticed, most of my Fish Tuesdays involve some combination of butter, wine, and lemon.  This was my last Fish Tuesday before school starts on Monday, so I wanted to pull out all the stops.  I poured through my vast library of cookbooks looking for something kind of crazy to make.  I found a sea bass dish in the Alinea cookbook that looked amazing.  However, it had 36 elements on the plate, so that idea was scrapped (though if I had thought about it the day before, I would have made it).  I looked through my Charlie Trotter's Seafood book, but most of the fish in that book are either endangered, extinct, or purely mythical, which is basically just a long way of saying that some fish in his book is nearly impossible to find.  Finally, I just decided to go to the Fish Guy Market and figure it out from there.  I ended up buying the final five mahi mahi fillets, still completely unaware of what I was going to do with it. 

I got home and realized I had some saffron that I bought while in Spain, so that was going to go into the dish.  Next I saw some arborio rice in my cabinet, so I decided on risotto of some sort.  The dish was starting to come together, at least in my head.  For the vegetable element, I wanted to make spinach.  So, I'm sitting in my kitchen staring at a bunch of mahi mahi, a package of saffron, a half box of arborio rice, and a whole lot of spinach.  I was once called the MacGyver of Hamburgers, so I put my MacGyver-like skill to use.  I decided to make the mahi sous vide in duck fat with saffron risotto and sauted spinach.  Here is how that went down.

Mahi (Serves 5)
5 fillets of mahi mahi
5 tbsp duck fat
kosher salt

1.  Fill a large stockpot almost all the way full with hot water, clip a thermometer to the side and heat on low to 141 degrees.
2.  Salt and pepper both sides of the fish.
3.  Put 3 fillets of mahi in a vacuum bag and 2 fillets in the other.  Put 3 tbsp of duck fat in the bag with 3 fillets and 2 tbsp with the 2 filets.
4.  Seal the bags using a Vac Saver
5.  Put the bags into the stockpot and cook for 35 minutes.
6.  Cut bags open and serve immediately.

Saffron Risotto
1/2 stick butter
1 1/2 cup arborio rice
1 spanish onion, diced
1 shallot, diced
2 pinches saffron threads
1 tspn rosemary leaves
1 cup chicken stock, hot
4 cups water, simmering
1 cup parmesan cheese, grated
kosher salt

1.  Melt butter in a large saute pan over medium heat.
2.  Add onion, shallot, a few pinches of kosher salt, and some pepper to pan and cook until onion turns translucent.
3.  Add saffron and stir until the dish mostly looks yellow (about 2 minutes).
4.  Add rice and stir around to toast and coat in butter (about 2-3 minutes).
5.  Add 1 cup of water and stir continuously until absorbed.  When absorbed, add in chicken stock and stir continuously until absorbed.  (About 10 minutes)
6.  Add in rosemary and stir until incorporated.
7.  Continue adding water and stirring continuously until absorbed until rice is creamy and completely cooked (about 15-20 more minutes).
8.  When rice is al dente, remove from heat and stir in cheese until fully incorporated.

Sauteed Spinach
6 oz spinach leaves
3 long strips of orange peel, 1/4 inch wide
olive oil
2 tbsp unsalted butter
kosher salt

1. Film the bottom of a large saute pan with olive oil.  Put orange strips in it and heat on medium until the oil bubbles around the orange.
2.  Put the spinach in the pan and sprinkle a few pinches of salt over it.  Heat until spinach wilts, then cook for a few minutes longer to evaporate some of the liquid.
3.  Remove pan from heat and take out the orange strips.
4.  Divide the spinach into 5 equal sized piles.
5.  Put a pile of spinach in the center of a paper towel.  Fold the towel in half over the spinach and twist each end in opposite directions to form the spinach into a tight ball.  Put the spinach ball on a plate and repeat with each other pile of spinach.
6.  In a small saute pan, melt the butter.  When butter is melted, put the spinach balls into the pan and roll around until they are heated through (about 3 minutes).

To plate it prettily, put four small piles of risotto on the plate in a square pattern.  Put a ball of spinach in the middle and place a piece of fish over the spinach.  Serve.

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