Mahi Mahi with Pistachio Mint Pesto

Are you ready to say, “Oh my god….that’s amazing!”?

Well, you should be.  This dish warranted that exact OMG face from E with those exact words…This is amazing!  

I was gifted a new cookbook for mothers day and promptly went thru and flagged pages of recipes I wanted to try.  For the next few weeks after mothers day, I continued to re-flip thru wanting to work different recipes in the weekly rotation.  I kept coming back to the Pistachio Mint Pesto recipe that I knew I wanted to pair with fish.  Over the summer, I made this dish a few times – either with mahi mahi or with cod.  It compliments both fish well, but I lean to the mahi mahi due to meaty texture of that fish.

There is an excitement I get when I make something new that isn’t a familiar style of cooking I’m used to.  The energy feeds an internal smile and it mixes with just enough uncertainty about its success to motivate me.  At the end of this meal, add in the satisfaction of a job well done and a meal well enjoyed!

The energetic hum happens when making things I’ve not made often enough to know it like my back hand (recipes like homemade red sauce or browned butter chicken) and that is a motivator to push thru even when I question myself.  Fun things like making different fish (on the grill or in a pan) or quick pickling at home or in this case, making a new pesto.  It is all driven from my desire to create a great meal, to have that success of conquering that new menu item, and maybe, if I’m lucky, find a recipe I definitely want to add to our dinner rotation.

Looking at our herb garden throughout the summer, one thing that was abundant was the mint.  I’m sure no-one is surprised since mint is a weed and as long as given enough sun and water, it will grow as such.  It has definitely taken over its corner in the planter box this year.

This is a meal that looked high-end and fancy to make, but as long as you can wield a knife and a grater, you got this.  Be careful when toasting the pistachios, as they can burn easily and then you’ll have to start over (like it did the second time making this).

I used to be hesitant in cooking fish – not familiar with the timing and definitely not wanting to under cook afraid of not feeling too hot if that should happen. Then one day – I jumped on that horse to start cooking more with fish. It is just like anything else – the more you practice, the more proficient you become.

I do have to sometimes remind myself when meal planning each week that fish can always be an option, whether fresh from the grocers counter or individually frozen, the lighter meal can be just as satisfying.

But the star of this dish for me is The Pesto! Fresh, vibrant, nutty and cheesy – it checked off all the boxes for me. This is a fresh summer dish to be made again and again, and used for anything from fish, to pork or beef, to grilled or roasted veggies. With produce sections of the store amply stocked throughout the year, I’m sure I could make this year round, but it will always remind me of overflowing planter boxes with fresh herbs, warm sunshine and summer breezes. I’ll let this pesto make the anticipation of summer grow over the other seasons. Looking forward to summer this year.

Mahi Mahi with Pistachio Mint Pesto

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb Mahi Mahi
  • 1 Tbls olive oil
  • Salt and pepper

Pesto Ingredients:

  • 2 cups chopped fresh mint leaves
  • 1 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp finely grated lemon zest
  • 1 Tbls finely grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup pistachios, toasted
  • 1 small garlic clove
  • Kosher salt
  • Finely ground black pepper

Pesto Preparation:

In a small skillet over medium, toast shelled pistachios, shaking the pan frequently to prevent burning, until nuts are nicely toasted.  Remove from pan to a platr and let cool.  When pistachios are cooled, coarsely chop.

In a small bowl, combine mint, olive oil, lemon zest, and Parmesan cheese.  Add Pistachio.  Grate Parmesan with microplane grater into mixture.  Stir to combine, and season with salt and pepper.  Store in an airtight container in the fridge while preparing the fish.  Can be made in advance and store for up to 1 week.

Mahi Mahi Preparation:

Preheat oven to 400°.  Heat olive oil an oven safe skillet over medium high heat.  While both are coming to temperature, pat dry mahi mahi filets and salt and pepper both side.

When pan and oven are to temperature, add filets to pan and sear on both sides for approximately 3 minutes each, being careful not to crowd the pan.  After searing on both sides, transfer the pan to the oven for 5 minutes to finish cooking and until nice and golden brown on top.

Remove from oven and rest for 2 minutes.  Plate immediately and top with a generous amount of pesto.  Pairs nicely with roasted potatoes, a buttery Chardonnay and great company!  Enjoy!

Happy Pesto’ing!!!

*Mint Pistachio Pesto from GJELINA cookbook.

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