June Food Challenge: SEAFOOD

Fish cooking

OK, so the cedar plank did catch fire, but the dish came out awesome despite a little set back on the grill.

I got a jump-start on my June Food Challenge. Last night I made a macadamia crusted Mahi-Mahi with cauliflower mash and sautéed mustard greens. I had no idea what I was doing when making the crust. It really was on a whim and not thought out. I ended up topping it with a pesto sauce just in case the crust didn’t come out.

Why A Fish Challenge?
I’ve always hated fish. Always. When I was a kid I’d go fishing with my best friend’s family. I just remember being repulsed by how slimy the fish were and the whole cleaning process. Heck, to this day I still refuse to put bait on a fishing hook. The whole process is just icky to me.  And that pretty much drives most of my aversion to fish.

Most, but not all. Let’s not forget the fishy taste. Canned tuna always made me gag. And salmon…don’t get me started.

However I started rethinking the whole fish thing a few years ago when I tried sushi.  Yep, I ate raw fish…and loved it. No fishy flavor. I didn’t even mind the texture so much. Of course all that dang Wasabi may have had a hand in it, but it got me thinking.

Plus the health benefits. There is no way around that. I’m missing out on Omega-3 because of my aversion to fish. Taking fish oil just isn’t the same.

Finally my husband loves seafood. And it isn’t fair that he rarely eats fish because his wife is grossed out by it.

But eating fish is always hit or miss. Freshness is really important for a fish hater trying to become lover. I’ve had amazingly good Chilean sea bass and god awful salmon (Yes, I’m a bit like Ahab…but salmon is my Great White).

So June I’m making a serious effort to add fish to my diet. This month, twice a week, I’m eating seafood. Ultimately I want to be able to enjoy fish once a week after this challenge ends.

Fire In The Hole
My first attempt at grilling fish exceeded my expectations…despite the fire. The crust was a bit mushy going on but got pretty crispy (not burnt). Rather than chopping the macadamia nuts, I mistakenly pulverized them in my herb grinder. I basically turned the nuts into mush. In an effort to firm up the nut mush, I added my homemade salt seasoning (pink Himalayan salt, fresh cracked pepper, garlic powder and paprika) and some Parmesan cheese.

I ended up patting the crust mix on top and sides of each filet before adding them to the cedar plank.

Keep Calm & Eat Fish
Adding the pesto sauce was done out of panic. Again, this wasn’t planned out. I saw the fish at my grocery store earlier that afternoon and decided to pick up 3 fillets. The pesto sauce was just in case the crust or fish tasted bad.

The panic was for naught. The crust was yummy as was the pesto. And as for the fish…it was delicious. Mahi-Mahi was a good first choice for this challenge. My Wegman’s fishmonger recommended I start my challenge off with a mild white fish before working my way up to the dark and oil rich fish.

Apparently there are 5 types of fish.  So for the first few dishes I’m focused on milder white fish. That should help me get over hangups regarding texture and eating the skin before moving towards stronger flavored fish and eventually wild salmon.

As for the recipe, I tracked how much food I ate, but didn’t calculate the nutrition value of the fish dish. I’m working on that today and will post it later today.

I was too excited (and nervous) about starting this challenge to do some calculations. But I’ll make sure to have it ready to go when I post about my next dish: Steamed Muscles & Bacon-Wrapped Scallops.

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