I’ll share a little secret with you. Sometimes when I am feeling less imaginative and am in need of a good recipe, I’ll rely on a recipe on a package. While it does seem as if I am cheating in the creativity department, here’s my theory: No business would put a recipe on the packaging for one of its products if the recipe weren’t tried and true, guaranteed to come out the way it should. So for example, at one point or another, I’ve followed all of the cookie recipes on chocolate-chip packages and the cake recipes on the cocoa and cake-flour boxes. And all of those recipes turn out good.
In light of the above confession, here is the meal I prepared the other night: For dinner for my husband and me, I defrosted some mahi-mahi fish fillets from Trader Joe’s. This type of fish is not a regular on my repertoire so I was in need of some ideas. Luckily, the package had a couple of great recipes: Lemon Pepper Butter, and Easy Aioli. I’ve made aioli many times in the past, so I decided to test out the Lemon Pepper Butter, especially since I had most of the ingredients on hand anyway.
First, I took out a half a stick of butter and let it soften while I prepared the other ingredients. Next, I zested one lemon and chopped up about a quarter cup of fresh, flat-leaf Italian parsley.
Once the butter had softened, I combined the lemon zest and parsley with the butter using a fork.
The recipe called for Trader Joe’s Lemon Pepper, which I didn’t happen to have, so I substituted Maine sea salt and freshly ground pepper (it just so happens that my father makes his own sea salt).
Now this handy-dandy recipe also included advice on various ways to cook the fish, depending on whether it had been defrosted or was still frozen. As my mahi-mahi was defrosted, I had these options: on the grill, pan seared, or oven roasted. I decided to sear the fish in a pan since I like crispy fish, and it’s too cold and snow around here to do any outside grilling.
I heated a heavy cast-iron pan over medium-high heat until it was sizzling hot, added a little olive oil, and seared the filets about three minutes on each side until cooked through.
I topped the cooked fillets with the Lemon Pepper Butter and served it with quinoa (more on that another day) and a tossed salad. The mahi-mahi came out crisp on the outside and flaky on the inside. The Lemon Pepper Butter melted over the fish and created a delicious topping and added flavor to the quinoa.
Lemon Pepper Butter Mahi-Mahi
2 mahi-mahi fillets
1/2 stick of unsalted butter, softened
zest of one lemon
1/4 cup fresh flat-leaf Italian parsley, chopped
salt and pepper to taste
Using a fork, mash together the butter, lemon zest, and parsley until mixed completely. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Heat a heavy-bottom pan over medium-high heat. Coat pan with olive oil. Sear fish fillets on each side about 3 minutes until cooked through. Serve with lemon butter on top.