A couple of days ago it was really effing hot here. 90*+, just enough humidity to give your skin that oh-so-comfortable clammy feeling. Our dog Chopper preferred to simply lay about, tongue hanging attractively out of the corner of his mouth. Nobody was very happy. But we still had to eat, right? We'd been going out maybe a little too much lately, so even with my ability to rationalize pretty much any indulgence, it seemed a good time to rein it in. There was no way the oven was going to be turned on, and although I've had this strange burger fixation lately, almost like I feel like eating them every day (I can't explain it, it just IS), I decided halibut, grilled, was the deal. But since halibut is only a vehicle for whatever sort of condiment wants to come for a ride, I needed something else. Let's see....I'm hot, sweaty, refreshment desperately needed, something cool yet with some zing to wake my palate up...tropical?...thoughts of an island, with cool waves lapping on the beach, a cold, fruity drink in hand...mmmmmmm....escape....mangos??...hell, yeah!!........
So, properly inspired, the research team came out. To the interweb I went where this kickass mango salsa recipe appeared on, of all sites, about.com (all the more surprising because I find about.com about as user friendly as an angry baboon in mating season. And don't ask me why I know this is a good analogy). I read this one over, though, and it seemed to have all the requisite palate pleasing things: mangos, fish sauce, citrus, cilantro, garlic, Thai-inspired, and super fast and easy to make. Plus the author had some great tips for trimming up the mango. This stuff really rocked, and would be great on any number of fishy plates, especially some fish tacos. Refreshment is at hand!
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Grilled Halibut with fresh mango salsa
adapted from Darlene Schmidt
(click here for printable recipe)
2 fresh halibut steaks OR fillets (enough to serve 2 people)
2 Tbsp. fish sauce OR 3 Tbsp. soy sauce
2 Tbsp. fresh lime juice
1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
MANGO SALSA: (Serves 2)
2 tsp. Thai sweet chilli sauce (easily purchased at your local grocery or Asian/Chinese food store
about 1/2 cup fresh cilantro, roughly chopped
1 Tbsp. fish sauce OR 1+1/2 Tbsp. soy sauce
1 ripe mango , chopped into 1/2" cubes
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbsp. lime juice
1/2 to 1 tsp. sugar, depending on how sweet your mango is
1- Wash the fish portions and pat dry with a clean tea towel or paper towel. Place in a flat-bottomed bowl.
2- Mix fish sauce or soy sauce with lime juice, then pour over the fish. Turn the fish several times in this sauce.
3-Sprinkle over the black pepper, gently pressing it into both sides of the flesh. Set in the refrigerator to marinate while you prepare the salsa.
4- Slice the mangos and scoop out the flesh. Place the mango with all other salsa ingredients in food processor. Pulse for short periods, until the desired consistency is reached. Tip: You want the salsa a little on the chunky side - don't over-process or it will turn to liquid Taste-test the salsa for saltiness/sweetness. If not salty enough, add 1-2 tsp. more fish or soy sauce. If too salty, add a squeeze of lime juice. If too sour, add 1-2 tsp. more sugar. Set salsa aside.
5- Heat up your grill and lightly brush it with oil. Grill the fish 5-10 minutes per side, depending on the heat of your grill and the thickness of the fish.
Halibut Cooking Tips: Allow the fish to cook at least 2 minutes undisturbed before turning (this will help prevent sticking). After the steaks have been grilled 5 minutes on each side, use a fork to gently pull flesh apart enough to see inside. Flesh inside will turn from light pink to opaque white when cooked. Try not to overcook. If cooking indoors, pan-fry the steaks in 2 Tbsp. canola or other vegetable oil for roughly 8 minutes per side, or until done.
To serve, place fish on serving plates. If desired, make a simple bed of greens for the fish on each plate (try to include fresh basil and coriander if you have it). Drizzle the salsa over the fish. Top with a little more fresh coriander and serve with rice or potatoes.