I love one-skillet suppers, don’t you? The original recipe is one I picked up at delish.com. Their recipe was for the Mahi-Mahi only. Adding the asparagus to the same pan transformed this delicious fish dinner to a one-skillet wonder. Quick, easy and oh so satisfying. I love the combination of lemon zest and minced garlic all swirled together with a kiss of butter. Adding a wonderful smokey-nutty flavor to the plate are the pan-seared asparagus tips that are absolutely delicious. And then there is the real star of the dish – the Mahi-Mahi.
Mahi-Mahi is a Hawaiian term that literally means “strong strong”. These tropical fish are fierce fighters. They are prized for their beautiful color, size and among those in the “know” their delicious meat. Decades ago, this fish was called a dolphinfish. It wasn’t until the 1980’s that the name was changed to Mahi-Mahi to avoid confusion between the fish itself and the dolphin, which isn’t a fish. Personally, I don’t understand why Mahi-Mahi was ever called a dolphinfish that could be confused with an actual dolphin. One is a fish, the other an aquatic mammal. While some people claim there is a certain similarity between the two unrelated species, I just don’t see it. The real downside of the confusion came when upscale restaurants began serving dolphinfish much to the disapproval of patrons, thinking the restaurants were actually cooking up Flipper. Hence the official culinary name change.
As for the flavor of Mahi-Mahi, it does not have a “fishy” flavor that turns some people off of fish in general. The flavor is mild and somewhat sweet. It’s just a great fish that lends itself well to so many cooking techniques – everything from grilling to baking to pan frying. Of all the fishes out there, Mahi-Mahi is one of my favorites.
Lemon-Garlic Mahi-Mahi with Pan Seared Asparagus
1 lb asparagus, trimmed
1 large lemon, Zest and juice only
4 tablespoons butter, divided
2 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
4 (4-oz) Mahi-Mahi fillets
kosher salt to taste
Freshly ground black pepper
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon freshly chopped parsley, plus more for garnish
1 lemon, sliced
Trim asparagus tips. Set aside until ready to cook.
Zest large lemon, divide zest in two piles and set aside. Juice same lemon, and divide juices.
In a large skillet over medium heat, melt 1 tablespoon each of butter and olive oil. Add asparagus tips, spreading out evenly in the skillet. To the asparagus, add half the lemon zest and juice. Let asparagus cook undisturbed until it begins to char and is tender but crisp, about 15 minutes. Pile asparagus to one side of the pan.
Add another tablespoon each of butter and olive oil to the skillet. Add Mahi-Mahi and season with salt and pepper. Cook until golden, 3 minutes per side. Transfer both the asparagus and fish to a plate.
Slice remaining lemon into thin slices. Set aside.
To the now empty skillet, add remaining 2 tablespoons butter. Once melted, add garlic and cook until fragrant, 1 minute, then stir in remaining lemon zest and juice. Sprinkle with parsley. Return the Mahi-Mahi to one side of the skillet. Tip the pan slightly and spoon sauce over the fillets. Tuck lemon slices in and around the fillets. Return asparagus tips to the skillet. Garnish with more parsley and serve straight from the pan.
Serve with a crisp salad and enjoy!