I recently was introduced to a fabulous trout dish that I wanted to recreate at home. The trout is served wrapped in chard over the most delicious maque choux (pronounced MOCK-SHOE, it is a sweet corn dish with onions, peppers, and ham finished with cream), which I will delve into in another post after I actually get to prepare it . I stopped in the grocery store on my way home and there was no trout – so there went that dream. Normally, I am a bit crazy about satisfying my cravings – if I want to taste it, I do whatever it takes to have it. The nearest actual fish market is on the other side of town though and, as much as I was craving maque choux, the trout was not worth an hour and a half in the car. I did find beautiful fresh mahi mahi fillets and got excited about seeing what I could do with them. So, I picked up some rainbow chard and herbs and headed home to experiment. Here’s what I came up with – a quick and simple tomato basil shallot sauce to wrap in the chard with the mahi mahi, an accompaniment of the bright and refreshing lemon herb quinoa that I shared in my previous post – Quinoa, Will You Be My Valentine? - and baked sweet potato lightly buttered and dusted with cinnamon and brown sugar. I pleasantly discovered that the vibrancy of the color on the plate was matched by the dynamic interplay of flavors in the components of the dish. After my first bite, I quickly forgot about the maque choux and craved more of the mahi mahi and quinoa in front of me. Rest assured, however, that I will soon present you with the swiss chard wrapped trout and maque choux .
Tomato Basil Shallot Sauce
Prepare the sauce first, so that it is ready for use as soon as your swiss chard is prepped.
Ingredients (for 2 fillets)
- 2 Roma Tomatoes, chopped
- 1 tsp Fresh Basil, chopped
- 1 tsp Garlic, minced
- 1 Tbsp Olive Oil
- 1 Large Shallot, small diced
- 1/2 tsp salt
- Heat olive oil over medium high heat in a sauté pan.
- Add shallots to heated oil and sauté until they soften.
- Add garlic to sauté pan and sauté until it turns golden. Do not burn the garlic or caramelize the shallots – adjust the heat if necessary.
- Add tomatoes, basil, and salt to the sauté pan. Mix ingredients well.
- Turn heat down to medium-low heat and allow the sauce to reduce as the tomatoes cook down. Remove from heat after sauce has reduced by about half. It should be thick and not runny.
Wrapping the Mahi Mahi with Swiss Chard
This was my favorite part of preparing this dish. The steps are simple to complete, but the presentation has a high impact when you serve it on a plate. You can use this technique with a variety of fish, sauces, and leafy greens.
Ingredients (for 2 fillets)
- 2 8-10 oz Mahi Mahi fillets
- 4 large leaves of swiss or rainbow chard, stems cut off
- Salt for blanching water
- Tomato Basil Shallot Sauce
- You can prep the chard leaves by steaming them or blanching them. If blanching the chard, set up your blanching station:
- Boil water in large pot, add salt after the water begins boiling. The salt will help the chard retain the natural sodium in it by preventing it from leaching out of the chard when submerged in the water.
- Set up a bowl of ice water.
- Have a strainer available.
- Wash chard leaves well and pat dry, cut off stem at base of the leaves but do not remove veins from leaves.
- Using your fingers, press down on the large vein running down the center of the leaves to “bruise” it and flatten it out. This will allow greater flexibility when wrapping the fish.
- Steam chard for about 1 minute or blanch chard for 30 seconds, shocking in the ice water and allowing to drain stretched out in the strainer. Be careful handling the chard leaves, they will be delicate when removed from the water or steamer.
- Place two chard leaves on a large cutting board with the deep side of the veins facing up – place the first one down vertically, and place the second one horizontally over the center of the other to form a ”cross.”
- Place half of the tomato basil shallot sauce on the chard over the center of the cross, spreading the sauce out only far enough to cover the mahi mahi fillet.
- Place the mahi mahi fillet horizontally onto the chard with the top side down and touching the sauce. The skin of the fillet should be facing you and the flesh of the fish should be touching the sauce.
- Delicately, fold the sides of the horizontally oriented chard leaf over the ends of the mahi mahi, folding the edges of the leaves around the fish as if you are wrapping a gift.
- Delicately, fold the sides of the vertically oriented chard leaf over the ends of the mahi mahi in the same manner, being sure to cover all edges of the fish if possible.
- Repeat the wrapping procedure for the other fillet.
- Carefully turn the wrapped fillets over, so the smooth side of the chard is facing up and the seams are underneath. Place the fish into your steamer and steam until fish is cooked. Steam fish for about 8-10 minutes per inch thickness of the fillets.
Lemon Herb Quinoa & Baked Sweet Potato
I served the mahi mahi with a lemon herb quinoa that I fell in love with earlier this year and a simple presentation of the all time favorite baked sweet potato. See my previous post Quinoa, Will You Be My Valentine? for the recipe and information about the amazing health benefits of quinoa, which is an ancient grain that is packed with protein and other nutrients. For the sweet potato, I simply baked them until done, but still firm in the center. Yes, I cheated with the microwave ready wrapped sweet potatoes – you have to work smart ;-) In my home kitchen, after a long day of school and work, I took the short cut on the potatoes so I could put love into my fish and quinoa. I cut the potato into rounds about 1/2 inch thick and carefully peeled off the peel while still hot. A simple small pat of butter on each round melted as I sprinkled a bit of brown sugar and dash of cinnamon to finish them off. I hope you love it as much as we did.
I am loving fish this summer! So, stay tuned for posts about the Steamed Trout Wrapped in Chard with Maque Choux and an Indonesian Grilled Fish in Banana Leaf that is absolutely fabulous!
Do you have any favorite wrapped fish recipes you would like to share?