It is not often I get to cook with my dad but when I do, it almost always seems to be an event these days be it Pernil, Burgers (espangnole as a personal creation of mine), Paella (I’ll post our recipe someday) or just reproductions of grandma’s Crowded Soup. Cooking among family and friends brings out great stories and creates great memories and the other day was no exception. Fish experiments are some of my favorites and much like I do when cooking with most people, I left the ingredient list much up to him and I couldn’t ask for an easier pairing than this for sure… just look back at any of the recipes previous and you’ll see.
We talked earlier in the day and I told him I had some fish at home so pick a veggie and a starch and come by with some bourbon and we’d be all set. Anytime you leave the instructions vague you never know what you’re going to get when the person arrives, which, sometimes I like. He knows my style too, and what he brought made for an easy journey into our joint Delta love and create this experiment: kale wrapped mahi mahi and sweet rice.
Bell pepper (red and green)
house seasoning (or old bay or a cajun premix)
Clean kale and remove stems and place in the stock pot
Chop the onion, bell peppers, celery and garlic, place the unneeded parts in the stock pot
Add water, whole pepper corns and bay leaves to the stock pot and boil
Divide up the veggies so there is about a handful for each fish fillet you have
Place the remaining veggies in a skillet (about a 3:1 ratio of veggies to rice) with a small amount of oil and sweat over low heat until the are soft and sweet
Add the brown rice to the skillet and toast it lightly
Strain stock from stock pot and add it to the skillet with the rice and veggies about 3:1 ratio stock to rice (follow package instructions)
Add about a tablespoon (or two) of molasses for each serving of rice being cook, season with the house seasoning and add a bay leaf
Allow rice to cook covered according to package instructions (30-50 minutes) or until rice is tender.
When the rice is about half way cooked it should already begin to have a sweet aroma and flavor from the veggies breaking down, reseason with the house seasoning as necessary, but make sure you don’t over season and lose the sweetness.
Clean the fish, pat dry and then hand rub with house seasoning
Place a small handful of onion, pepper, celery and garlic combination into a leaf of the kale along with one fillet of fish and wrap the kale around it.
Place the kale wrapped fish into a skillet.
Add to the skillet about a shot glass of bourbon per each fillet and about the same amount of stock
Over low heat allow the fish to cook covered, the liquid should be just about a boil through the process, for about 15-20 minutes (depending on the size of the fillets) or until they are white and the flesh flakes slightly with a fork and the veggies are soft
In the large fry pan place the remaining kale along with garlic and some butter, season with house seasoning
Over medium heat begin to saute the kale
Just as it begins to wilt add a couple of shots of bourbon and carefully ignite the alcohol
Allow the alcohol to burn off carefully away from the stovetop then return it to the stove top if necessary to finish sauteing until the kale is cooked.
Do not overcook the kale!
Serve by unwrapping the mahi mahi from the kale leaf and plating it with the steamed veggies from inside the kale wrap over the top. You can place the sauteed kale under the fish, or the rice, or on the side. A bottle of hot sauce at the table is completely acceptable, always the preference is Crystal, but any vinegar based one would be good.