When I was growing up Lent meant grilled cheese sandwiches and tomato soup, eggs for dinner, or fish, but let’s just say in rural Minnesota, we weren’t eating Mahi Mahi with a Caribbean flair for dinner. Van de Kamp’s fish sticks was more like it. This recipe is a definite step up from fish-in-a-box and just as easy.
Here’s how you get dinner on the table in less than 15 minutes.
Defrost your frozen fish fillets or buy fresh and place them in a skillet.
Drizzle olive oil and the juice of half an orange over them, season them with salt and pepper, a few shakes of Mrs. Dash or your favorite spice blend, and you’re ready to pan-sear.
I like using orange juice because it reduces any “fishy” flavor. Experts say that good fish shouldn’t ever be fishy-tasting or fishy-smelling, but sometimes even good fish is, well, fishy. A little citrus goes a long way in eliminating that issue and I prefer oranges to lemons.
Oranges neutralize the fishy flavor in a more flavor-neutral way than lemons. I do like lemons, but in this case, I wanted the Mahi to stand on it’s own and not be overwhelmed by lemon, which is why I used an orange.
Then go through your cupboards and discover you have a box of brown rice noodles. Cool!
Put them in a bowl of hot water for about 20 minutes before you plan to use them, and let them hangout, on standby.
Pan sear the babies in less than 10 minutes, flipping halfway through, and then plate them.
Take those noodles that were in the warm water on standby, and throw them into the (greasy) fish pan, add a little more grease (a tablespoon or two of olive oil), a little more Mrs. Dash and the juice of the other orange half, and toss them for a couple minutes. The noodles will absorb all the flavors from the bottom of the pan and sear a bit.
Put it together, and voila, a nice Lent dinner.
Or anytime dinner.
The two Mahi fillets I used were pretty generous and let’s just say that the family was licking their plates and I could have even bought a third fillet.
I don’t usually plan on a 5 year old needing her own portion, but you won’t have to beg your child (or your spouse), to eat their fish if you make it like this. Instead, they’ll be asking you why you didn’t make more.
Pan-Seared Caribbean Citrus Mahi Mahi with Brown Rice Noodles (Gluten Free)
2 Mahi Mahi fillets
1 orange, halved
2+ tablespoons Mrs. Dash Caribbean Citrus Blend (or use individual spices such as sweet chili pepper, thyme, black pepper, allspice, nutmeg, cayenne pepper, ginger, cinnamon)
salt (sea salt or Kosher if possible) and pepper, to taste
3 tablespoons+ olive oil, drizzled
Place the fish in a non-stick skillet, squeeze the juice of half the orange over it, drizzle 2 tablespoons olive oil over fish, sprinkle with Mrs. Dash, salt and pepper, and cover. Cook over medium to medium-high heat for about 5 minutes or until visible browning has begun on the bottom corners and edge of fish. Do not move fish or “check it” unnecessarily with a spatula while it’s cooking initially because that will impede it from searing well. After fish has seared, flip it and add another tablespoon of oil if needed, cover, and allow fish to cook 3-4 more minutes, or until done (white and opaque). Remove from skillet and plate, allowing fish to rest.
Brown Rice Noodles
Allow brown rice noodles to soften or cook according to package directions. I used Annie Chun’s Pad Thai noodles that softened in a large bowl of hot water for 20 minutes that I started soaking shortly before the fish was cooking. After removing fish from the skillet, add the brown rice noodles, squeeze the juice of remaining orange halve over them, drizzle 1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil, sprinkle with Mrs. Dash, salt and pepper, to taste, and allow to cook for 2 to 4 minutes or until slightly browned. Because they are cooked in the same skillet as the fish, the blackened bits and cooking juices will coat the noodles, adding color and flavor. Remove them from the skillet, plate them, and serve immediately.
Note: You could substitute almost any kind of fish with this recipe if you don’t have Mahi Mahi or prefer other types of fish. Adjust cooking times accordingly, but the seasonings and method, in general, will likely work with most types of fish.
Gotta love a fast dinner that the family likes, asks you to make again, and is a one skillet special.
The fish was tender, moist, flavorful. The touch of citrus, both form the orange and the Mrs. Dash seasoning used, gave this dish a Caribbean vibe.
The noodles were perfectly coated with just a little olive oil, which made them easier to
twirl around your fork suck up using the inhaling-and-sucking-in-your-noodles-like-they’re-air method that most of us perfected as 5 year olds.
If you’re a fish fan, I have a recipe for Pan Seared Lemon Pepper Grouper with Sweet Dipping Sauce
Another 15 minute dinner special is Szechuan Shrimp Stir Fry with Fried Rice
And here are two vegetarian, Caribbean-ish themed recipes
Do you have childhood Lent memories? What did you (or do you) eat for dinner if you observe?
Fish or Fish-Fry memories?
Do you like fish?
Even if you’re not Catholic, I think most everyone has spent time at a fish fry. Church basements, fried fish, corn on the cob or mashed potatoes, cole slaw, and the women of the Parish usually bake and bring the desserts and the money raised goes to buy something like 4 new basketballs and a new swingset for the playground, and maybe a set of Encyclopedias for Sister Mary’s third grade class.That’s my childhood in a nutshell.
And I think I can still smell the fish smell from a 1984 fish fry in my hair. Nothing like a fish fry to smell like fish for a day (or three).
Winners of the Green Smoothie eBook Giveaway coming up tomorrow