The Savage Garden, by Mark Mills, was a pretty terrific novel, a mystery that turns out to be a double cold case involving a fifteenth century murder, cleverly memorialized in an elaborate Tuscan garden, as well as a more recent World War II murder on the same estate. A young Cambridge student, Adam Strickland, is assigned a special summer project by his professor, with an introduction to the present owner, to research and prepare a thesis on her garden with its intriguing sculptures. Adam is enchanted and drawn in as he proceeds to work at unraveling and exposing some well hidden truths, underlying the garden's unusual iconography. Stir in a nice fillip of romance and well done Mr. Mills!
Though Adam rattled through France on the train to Italy and Signora Docci's villa in Tuscany, I thought this recipe, a simply prepared fish with a bit of complexity, might have been served in the dining car, albeit with a more Mediterranean variety of fish. I've made this twice now, with mahimahi as well as with Monchong, a similar lightweight white-fleshed fish with good flavor, and loved it both times. Basically a browned butter sauce with lemon and capers, quickly tossed together after sauteing the fish.
Mahimahi Meuniere Style
4 mahi fillets, 6 oz. each
salt and black pepper to taste
1/2 cup all purpose flour
4 tablespoons olive oil
6 tablespoons butter
6 tablespoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon lemon zest
2 tablespoons capers
1 tablespoon parsley, or chives, minced
Season the fish generously on both sides with salt and pepper. Allow to sit for 4 minutes. Then dredge in flour.
Heat a large saucepan over high heat. Add the olive oil and gently place the fillets in the pan. When the oil begins to lightly smoke, turn the heat down to medium and saute the fillets on one side until they are golden brown, about 3 to 4 minutes, depending on the thickness of the fish. Turn over and continue to cook on the other side until just cooked through and golden brown, another few minutes more. Remove the fillets from the pan and set aside on a paper towels to drain before transferring to plate.
Pour off any excess oil from the pan and wipe with a paper towel. Return the pan to medium high heat and add the butter, melting and simmering until butter begins to brown and takes on a nutty aromatic smell. Remove pan from heat and carefully add the lemon juice, zest and capers, being careful as the liquid will react with the hot butter. Stir together and add in the parsley or chives. Spoon hot sauce over the fish and serve immediately. I just added a green salad and my mixed rice for which I combine wild, brown and jasmine white.
This will be served up for the Weekend Cooking event, hosted by Beth Fish Reads. Jump aboard with your own food related post, or drop by for some good cooking and books.