Thursday, March 20, 2008

Mahi Mahi Piccata

Wednesday night is reality TV night in my house – mainly because the only reality TV shows I can stand to watch are on Bravo on Wed nights. (We won’t mention NBC’s Biggest Loser on Tuesday nights – too embarrassing to admit I watch that).

So now that Project Runway is over for the year – what to watch? Well, Top Chef, natch!

One of the things that makes Bravo networks reality shows great is that they get Real Talent. And the competitors must exhibit great facility with their talent, as well as creativity.

Watching Top Chef last week was really interesting. They brought in the requisite talent from all over the country, most of whom are working in the industry in restaurants, and many of whom have professional training. What was interesting was, the challenge required each contestant to prepare a classic dish – one from the Canon of recipes that are part of the foundation of a chef’s repertoire. There were dishes such as Eggs Benedict, Steak au Poivre, Shrimp Scampi, and soufflé.

Of those ending up in the bottom half eligible for elimination, some just made a dish that wasn’t as good as their counterpart, a few didn’t have much of a clue how to make their assigned dish (soufflé comes to mind) but…of those that ended up at the very bottom – the most surprising was the guy that had Chicken piccata. Tom Coliccio’s comment, at the judges table was, “I’m still not sure he knows what piccata is”. And another comment from the judges table was, (I’m paraphrasing) ‘in order to push the bounds you first have to understand the basics.” How True!

Same holds in sewing. I’m fond of telling students that I’ve taught, in order to break the rules you first need to know and understand them. Otherwise your results are sure to be unpredictable, not reproducible, and your success will be haphazard.

Anyway, I was inspired. I love to cook, but I’m no classically (or otherwise) trained chef. So I went looking at recipes.


I entered Piccata into the Epicurious search box, and came up with a list of recipes. I sat down and read them all.

Then I put away the computer and went to play in the kitchen. I didn’t have any chicken, what I had was Mahi-Mahi.

Dh declared my Mahi-Mahi piccata an unqualified success. (and because I’m not trained and was just winging it, I’m not sure my results will be reproducible)

First, I poached the 1 pound Mahi-Mahi filet in white wine…approx 8 mins. Then I removed the fish from the pan and covered it on a plate in a warm oven.

I drained the wine and dried the pan, then melted about 2 T butter, whisked less than 1 tbs flour into the butter, then slowly added less than ¼ cup (probably closer to 3 T) of white wine – I was using Pinot Grigio – and the juice of a whole lemon. I added some salt and a little bit of white pepper, then put the fish back in the pan and heated through again.

Meanwhile I boiled some fresh angel hair pasta and micro-cooked some new asparagus.

The whole thing took less than 20 minutes to make, and was unbelievably good.

Picatta, sort of. no pics, we were busy eating.


Nancy (nanflan) said...

Sounds like a great way to make mahi mahi!

Is Anthony Bourdain a regular judge, or was he just making an appearance? Love him!

Vicki said...

I will quietly admit to watching Biggest Loser (while usually eating..oops). The Aussie version is on EVERY night except Saturdays. My other favourite is So You Think You Can Dance - at least that is only on 2 nights a how many hours a week would that be all up? At least one new outfit!

designdreamer said...

Hmmmm, might have to try this - we haven't had Mahi Mahi for quite some time.
I was never a reality show fan either . . . until someone told me about "Project Runway" (I'm completely hooked) THEN, we found out that one of the girls from my girls' dance studio (she went to High School with my two oldest also) was on "So, You Think You Can Dance" (she got pretty far) THEN we found out that one of the contestants on "Make Me A Supermodel" (on currently) was a friend of a friend of ds (I think ds has played basketball with him too)- he's still in it too - Perry. I've watched bits and pieces of "Top Chef" too, and that workout one (on Bravo) Oh, and how can I forget "Dancing With The Stars" - the tube gets changed from one of the cable news networks for a short period of time, as even dh likes that one!
What can I say? I guess my reality show gene has been turned on.

cidell said...

I was afraid there was a spoiler in here and avoided it for a couple day! I finally watched the first two shows this morning. I have to say, this cast is more engaging than this year's Project Runway participants. I love mahi mahi. Mmmmm.

Brigitte said...

Ohhhh...that sounds SO yummy!