Mahi-Mahi with Couscous and Coconut-Vegetable Chowder

by smokinchestnut

I should not be writing this post. I’m at T-minus four days before my wedding and I have, oh, countless other more important tasks I should be doing. Like creating a timeline for the photographer, choosing which songs to play during the ceremony or stressing about the five additional people we just added to the guest list this late in the game. Heh, oops.

What I’d rather be doing: scouring all the food blogs I’ve missed reading because of wedding planning, editing the photos of yummy meals I’ve made and updating, updating, updating this blog. So here I sit, at 1 a.m., sneaking in a bit of “me” time and writing about a meal I made a few weeks ago that was fantastically aromatic, deliciously unique and downright TASTY. I’m so happy to finally share it, even amid this highly stressful/exciting/nerve-wracking/please-won’t-it-begin-so-that-it-will-finally-end time of my life.

A bit of forewarning on the dish — it is a tad labor intensive. However, it’s not as complex as it seems, despite the lengthy instructions, and TRUST me when I say the chowder portion of this recipe makes all the time you spent in the kitchen very rewarding. I don’t believe I’ve ever tasted anything like it and I wish I could have made this for  swarms of people so that they, too, could experience its deliciousness.

Mahi-Mahi with Couscous and Coconut-Vegetable Chowder
Slightly adapted from Epicurious

3/4 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup water
1 large egg
1 cup panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
4 pieces mahi-mahi
vegetable oil (for frying)
cousous, warm
chopped cilantro

1 tablespoon vegetable oil
3/4 cup chopped onion
3 small limes, grated and juiced
1 tablespoon minced peeled fresh ginger
1 tablespoon chopped jalapeño chile with seeds
1 garlic clove, crushed
2 cans unsweetened coconut milk
1 cup vegetable broth (I used chicken)
1 15.2-ounce bottle fresh carrot juice
1/4 cup (packed) dark brown sugar
2 tablespoons fish sauce
2  cups cubed, peeled sweet potato (from 1 pound)
2 cups baby Yukon Gold or baby tri-colored potatoes (about 9 ounces), scrubbed, halved lengthwise, then crosswise
2 cups stringless sugar snap peas, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 large carrot, peeled, cut into matchstick-size strips

For chowder: In a large heavy pot, heat oil on medium heat. Add onion, lime peel/juice, ginger, jalapeño and garlic. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is soft. Add coconut milk, broth, carrot juice, brown sugar, fish sauce and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer, uncovered, for one hour. Pour liquid through a fine strainer into another large pot, pressing on solids in the strainer to get all the flavor. Simmer in pot until liquid is roughly 4 cups.

While chowder is simmering, cook sweet potatoes in a large pot or saucepan of boiling, salted water until tender (roughly 6-8 minutes). Remove sweet potatoes, place in a bowl, and repeat process with baby potatoes, using the same liquid (roughly 10 minutes). Drain, add to sweet potatoes.

Bring coconut-chowder back to a simmer over medium heat; add cooked potatoes, sugar snap peas, and carrot. Cook in simmering liquid until vegetables are tender (roughly 5–7 minutes).

For mahi-mahi: Place flour in shallow bowl. In another shallow bowl, add water and egg and whisk. In third shallow bowl, add panko. Salt and pepper mahi-mahi, then dredge in flour, egg mixture, then panko. Pour enough oil to cover bottom of a large, non-stick pan and heat over medium-high heat. Add fish and cook until golden brown on both sides (roughly 3 minutes per side).

To plate, put couscous in a shallow soup bowl, add vegetable-chowder on top and place fish atop chowder. Sprinkle with freshly torn cilantro. Enjoy!