Monday, August 20, 2012

Grilled Mahi-Mahi With Spicy Papaya Salsa

Sweet, spicy, fresh, and delcious!
We just got back from an awesome little vacation in Carlsbad, CA. We were constantly on the go: beach time, pool time, family time, and even our first trip to SeaWorld with the kiddos. It was a great few days but I was eager to get back in the kitchen to cook and test new recipes.

One of the nights we were there, the hubs grabbed a few things to put on the grill. I know I’ve mentioned before that fish is not my favorite food and that I only really eat tilapia because it’s one of the mildest white fishes. So, as you can imagine, I wasn’t thrilled to see a frozen package of mahi-mahi in the shopping bag when he came home. Though I was a bit wary at first, I bucked up and tried it….and you know what? I really liked it!

Mahi-mahi is mild, flakey, and not at all fishy.  The hubs wrapped it in tin foil with a little butter and garlic before he grilled it and that was pretty tasty. But, of course, my wheels started spinning and all I could think was, “How good would this be with a yummy fresh fruit salsa?”

So, I got home, did a little recipe research, and headed to the store to buy my ingredients. My initial thought was to try a mango-papaya concoction. But after I returned with my bounty, the hubs pointed out that the mangoes were rock hard and days away from being ripe. Whoopsie! Hence, the Spicy Papaya Salsa recipe you’ll find below.

Grilled Mahi-Mahi With Spicy Papaya Salsa
Serves 3-4
1 cup papaya, chopped
½ red onion, chopped
¼-1 whole jalapeño pepper, diced (I used a whole one and it was really hot!)
2-3 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
1 small bunch cilantro, chopped
1 lime, juiced
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
Salt (to taste)
Pepper (to taste)
3-4 boneless, skinless mahi-mahi fillets (I used the Trader Joe’s frozen ones)
Olive oil spray
Salt (to season fish)
Pepper (to season fish)

In a medium bowl mix chopped papaya, onion, jalapeño, garlic, cilantro, lime juice, and apple cider vinegar together. Add a little salt and pepper to taste and stir well. Refrigerate for at least an hour to allow flavors to mingle.  

Preheat grill to medium-high heat. Spritz mahi-mahi fillets with olive oil and lightly season with salt and pepper. If using a grilling basket, place fish inside before placing on grill. You can also put fillets directly on the grill or on a bed of thinly sliced lemons if you’re worried about them sticking or falling through the grates. Cook fish for about 4-5 minutes on each side.  (Fish should flake easily when cooked through.)
Remove from grill, plate the fillets, and spoon equal amounts of papaya salsa over the fish. Serve immediately.
Not in the mood for fish? This sweet and spicy salsa would be great on grilled chicken. You could also forgo the meat altogether and use it as a dip for tortilla chips. If you are making this dish for little ones or you don’t like spicy food, you can swap out the jalapeño for a milder option such as banana peppers. You could also use diced green bell pepper instead.

Fun Food Fact:
To put out the flames of a too-hot bite of peppers or other spicy food, try a little dairy. The heat component (capsaicin) dissolves in the fat molecules of milk, sour cream, yogurt, and the like. But health-conscious friends beware: Reduced fat dairy foods won’t work as well and non-fat versions won’t work at all since it’s the fat that helps break down the capsaicin.
I was beyond bummed when the hubs told me the mangoes wouldn’t be ready for days. But it was one of those unfortunate situations that turned out to be a blessing in disguise. Using the papaya as the main ingredient of the salsa turned out better than I could have imagined. It was so good that I decided to tweak my original recipe and post it for others to try right away.

Now, in the ingredients section I said to use ¼ to 1 whole jalapeño pepper. This is totally a preference thing. I used a whole one and our salsa was MUY CALIENTE! I like the heat so this doesn’t bother me but if you are cooking for little ones or are sensitive to spicy foods, you’ll want to use a smaller amount or leave it out altogether. Also, the seeds and the membranes are the hottest parts, so removing those will help reduce the heat factor as well.

If you’re looking for an easy and delicious way to spice up grilled fish (or chicken!), this papaya salsa is a great option.  I served it with one of my favorite side dishes (Herbed Feta Chickpea Salad) and we had a low-carb, veggie- and protein-packed meal that tasted great and was super healthy.
I’m a little sad vacation is over but it’s nice to get back to our normal routine. I’m looking forward to testing more recipes and posting the successful ones for you all to enjoy.

Until next time,

No comments:

Post a Comment