Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Almond Mahi Mahi with Spicy Mango Chundo and Dill Couscous

     A Café Style Entrée With Exciting Flavors!
     Fine dining café cuisine can be creative and trendsetting.  Café chefs usually offer a list of special du jours along with a seasonal menu.  The special board offers opportunities to market food items that  increase consumer interest, by means of utilizing variety.  After a working a few weeks in a café it becomes easy to understand customer expectations and ideas start to flow for crafting new food items that will interest the clientele.  The special du jour board is the perfect medium for experimenting with marketing the new food items and the special du jour board is where all new food trends originate.
     Infusing ingredients and cooking techniques from different culture to create a new entrée is a well founded strategy for creating a special du jour.  Multi cultural fusion food entrées give customers something to talk about and it creates more opportunities for the wait staff to make suggestive sales.  Traditional food items that have exotic sounding names can romance the interest of customers.  Indian Mango Chundo is one such item.
     Mango Chundo is an Indian style fruit preserve that has a sauce consistency.  This condiment is made with sun dried mango strips and a fruit pectin sugar gelée.  Mango Chundo is flavored with chile pepper and the level of spicy heat is usually pleasantly mild.  Mango Chundo is condiment that can accompany a wide variety of items , like flatbreads, seafood or chicken.  When heated, Mango Chundo can be used as a sauce and it tastes great with sautéed tropical fish.
     Making Mango Chundo from scratch is fairly easy to do.  Thin strips of sun dried mango are simmered with a little bit of red chile pepper till they start to become tender.  Then sugar and pectin are added to create a thin gelée.  Mango Chundo is also available as a pre-made product in Indian food markets.  Honestly, it is difficult to beat the quality of a pre-made Mango Chundo product, so for convenience sake, making Mango Chundo from scratch is not necessary for today's recipe.
     Mahi Mahi is Dolphinfish.  Mahi Mahi are caught in tropical waters around the globe, but not all fisheries use sustainable fishing methods.  It is best to know the source of the Mahi Mahi in order to ensure guilt free dining.  Follow this link to a reputable seafood sustainability website to check the current status:  Seafood Watch  
     Dill Couscous: 
     This recipe yields 2 cups.  (2 to 3 portions)
     Step 1:  Place 3/4 cup of light chicken stock in a sauce pot.
     Add 1/2 teaspoon of olive oil.
     Add 2 pinches of sea salt and black pepper.
     Add 1/2 teaspoon of turmeric.
     Place the pot over medium heat.
     Bring the liquid to a gentle boil.
     Step 2:  Add 1/2 cup of small couscous.
     Add 1 teaspoon of chopped fresh dill weed.
     Stir the couscous as it absorbs the water.
     Step 3:  Reduce the temperature to low heat.
     Cover the pot with a lid.
     Gently simmer and steam till the water is absorbed and the couscous is tender.
     *The couscous only takes a few minutes to fully cook.
     Keep the Dill Couscous warm on a stove top or in a 135ºF bain marie.
     Spicy Mango Chundo:
     This recipe yields 1 garnish portion.  (About 2 ounces.)
     Jars of Spicy Mango Chundo are available at Indian food markets.  Try to select a brand that has plenty of sun dried mango strips in the jar.  The level of spicy heat in most brands is fairly mild.   
     Step 1:  Heat a small sauce pot over low heat.
     Add 1/4 cup of water.
     Add 1/4 cup of Spicy Mango Chundo.
     Stir the sauce as it heats.
     Gently simmer and reduce till the Spicy Mango Chundo is a thin consistency that can glaze a spoon.
     Step 2:  Place the sauce in a ceramic cup.
     Keep the Spicy Mango Chundo warm on a stove top or in a 135ºF bain marie.
     Petite Almond Mahi Mahi Filet Sauté:
     This recipe yields 1 portion.
     Step 1:  Select a thick 6 to 8 ounce Mahi Mahi filet.
     Cut the file into 2 rectangle shaped pieces.
     Step 2:  Dredge the Mahi Mahi in flour that is lightly seasoned with sea salt and black pepper.
     Place the floured petite filets in egg wash.
     Step 3:  Spread 1 teaspoon of almond slivers over a small platter.
     Place the egg dipped filets on the almond slivers.
     Sprinkle about 1 teaspoon of almond slivers over the top of the egg washed filets.
     Step 4:  Heat a non-stick (or seasoned) sauté pan over medium heat.
     Add 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil.
     Add 1 1/2 tablespoons of unsalted butter.
     Place the almond and egg coated petite Mahi Mahi filets in the pan while gently shaking the pan so the filets do not stick.
     Sauté till the egg coating is a golden color on the bottom half.
     Step 5:  Use a spatula to flip the filets.
     Briefly sauté till the second side of the filets are a golden color.
     Step 6:  Remove the pan from the heat.
     Use a spatula to remove the Mahi Mahi filets from the pan and set them aside.
     Drain the excess butter and oil out of the pan.
     Step 7:  Place the sauté pan over medium/medium low heat.
     Return the mahi mahi filets to the pan.
     Add 1/2 cup of dry white wine.
     Add 1/3 cup of fumet (light whitefish stock).
     Add 1/3 cup of water.
     Add 1 tablespoon of lemon juice.
     Add 1 small pinch of sea salt and white pepper.
     Bring the liquid to a simmer.
     Step 8:  Simmer and reduce till most of the liquid evaporates and the petite Mahi Mahi filets are fully cooked.  Be sure to flip the filets occasionally so they cook evenly.
     Remove the pan from the heat and keep it warm on a stove top.
     Almond Mahi Mahi with Spicy Mango Chundo and Dill Couscous:
     This recipe yields 1 entrée.
     Step 1:  Place 1 portion of the Dill Couscous in a custard cup mold.
     Gently pack the couscous in place.
     Invert the custard cup onto the back half of a plate.
     Remove the custard cup mold.
     Step 2:  Place medley buttered petite vegetables of your choice next to the couscous on the back half of the plate.
     Step 3:  Place the 2 Petite Almond Mahi Mahi Filets on the front half of the plate.
     Spoon a generous portion of the Spicy Mango Chundo Sauce over the petite filets and onto the plate.  (About 2 ounces.)
     Garnish the couscous with a dill sprig.
     Viola!  A nice tasting French café style tropical Mahi Mahi entrée!

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