Last night was another “experimenting” with what is available kind of night. In my freezer I had frozen Trader Joe’s Mahi Mahi filets and a knob of ginger. In my refrigerator I have three bunches of asparagus. And on my counter I had a handful of “on the brink” basil and some “starting to shrivel” cherry tomatoes. I wanted to use that basil. I didn’t realize when I started that the tomatoes would really make this meal.
- 3 bunches of asparagus
- large handful of basil
- tablespoon of pine nuts
- table spoon of good olive oil
- table spoon of balsamic glaze
- juice of one lemon
- 10 cherry tomatoes
- 2 small filets per person, so 8 small filets
- 3 tablespoons honey
- 3 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 tablespoon fresh ginger
- 1 tablespoon balsamic glaze
Knowing that my kitchen would turn into a madhouse at 530 when the kids came up to eat, I decided to roast the asparagus early and then reheat it at the end. I cleaned and broke the asparagus, lining it up on a pan as so:
I salted and peppered and oiled them up and placed them in a 425 degree oven on the top shelf.
While those cooked I marinated the fish. In a bowl I whisked the soy, honey, balsamic reduction, olive oil and ground ginger. In a Pyrex dish I poured the mixture then placed the fish, skin side down, covered and refrigerated until I was ready.
Next was the sauce for the salad. I knew I wanted to use the basil but wasn’t sure how. So, I thought, maybe a pesto of sorts? I chopped up a bit, added some pine nuts and a bit of olive oil and, using my immersion blender, puréed the ingredients. It tasted bitter so I added a bit of lemon. Better, but not quite right. Salt and pepper? Better still, but not 100%. Balsamic reduction?! Almost there! A few overripe cherry tomatoes?!! By Jove! It was delicious. But I needed more of this…so I did it again in a bigger bowl.
I had to stop myself from drinking this concoction. I could eat that every day.
When the asparagus were close to done, I removed them and set them aside until we were at the end.
While the kids ate, I toasted 1/3 cup of pine nuts and set them aside.
Fast forward an hour and the family was close to being ready to eat. I put the oven at 400 and, after turning the fish to coat twice, they went into the oven for 15-20 minutes. When I turned them halfway through the cooking, I put the asparagus back in the oven below the fish. I also quickly cooked up the pancetta, draining it on a paper towel. Remove the fish from the oven when it starts to flake and put the fish on a plate. Pour the marinade into the pan in which you just cooked the pancetta and cook the mixture down a bit. Add a tiny bit of arrow root if it needs thickening.
Put the asparagus, pine nuts, pancetta and sauce in a large bowl and mix. I’m not kidding when I tell you that you may have to hold yourself back from devouring the entire thing right then and there.
I maaaaaaay have eaten the leftover pine nuts and pancetta with a serving spoon, standing in the kitchen, right before going to bed. It was that good.
After plating the fish and salad, pour the reduced ginger glaze over the fish. Enjoy!