Dinner with the Hitchmans: Greek-Style Mahi Mahi and Toasted Orzo with Saffron & Fennel
We had our friends Pam and Tony over for dinner last night.
My mom will be quite surprised by the menu because it involved two ingredients I tend to avoid — dill and fennel. But when I saw the mahi mahi recipe as well as the orzo that was suggested as an accompaniment, I decided to give them a whirl because they looked delicious and a little different. The recipes proved to be a good gamble — everyone enjoyed the meal!
Both dishes were very easy to prepare and did not require much cooking time. I was able to do all the chopping before our guests arrived as well as prepare the “Greek-style” sauce for the fish. I only made a slight change to the mahi mahi recipe — I added about 1/2 cup of feta. I figured the extra feta would boost the flavor!
For the tomatoes accompanying the mahi mahi, I picked up two beautiful heirloom tomatoes at the Manhattan Fruit Exchange in Chelsea Market.
The orzo was a nice side dish — beautiful color from the saffron and a distinctive taste from the fresh fennel.
To finish the meal, Pam and Tony brought delicious handcrafted ice cream sandwiches from Milk & Cookies Bakery. We enjoyed our dessert with a wonderful Moscato d’Asti. Pam always knows how to beautifully pair food and wine! A perfect end to the meal.
Greek-Style Mahi Mahi
Gourmet, June 2009
- 3 medium tomatoes (about 3/4 pound total), each cut into 8 wedges
- 2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
- 1 tablespoon red-wine vinegar
- 4 (6-ounces) pieces mahimahi fillet (1 1/2 inches thick) with skin
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise
- 1/4 cup crumbled feta
- 3 tablespoons chopped mint
- 2 tablespoons chopped dill
- 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
- 8 very thin lemon slices
Toss tomatoes with 2 tablespoons oil, vinegar, and 1/2 teaspoon salt.
Line a broiler pan or small 4-sided sheet pan with foil or parchment paper and lightly oil foil. Put fish, skin sides down, on pan and season with 1/4 teaspoon each of salt and pepper.
Whisk together mayonnaise, feta, herbs, and lemon juice and spread over top of fish. Put 2 lemon slices (slightly overlapping) on center of each fillet. Drizzle lemon slices with remaining 2 teaspoons oil.
Broil fish 8 inches from heat until just cooked through, 14 to 16 minutes. If topping browns before fish is cooked, cover loosely with foil. Serve fish with tomatoes.
Toasted Orzo with Saffron & Fennel
Gourmet, June 2009
- 1/4 teaspoon crumbled saffron threads
- 1 tablespoon boiling-hot water plus 2 cups water, divided
- 1/2 cup chopped red onion
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 1/2 cups orzo (9 ounces)
- 1 cup chopped fennel (from 1 small bulb) plus 2 tablespoons chopped fronds
Soften saffron in 1 tablespoon hot water and set aside.
Cook onion in oil in a 3-quart heavy saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 6 minutes. Add orzo and toast, stirring frequently, until fragrant, 2 to 4 minutes.
Stir in saffron mixture, remaining 2 cups water, and 1 teaspoon salt and simmer, covered, until orzo is just tender and liquid is absorbed, about 12 minutes.
Sprinkle fennel bulb over orzo and let stand, covered, off heat 5 minutes. Stir fennel bulb into orzo, then serve sprinkled with fennel fronds.