Tuesday, March 22, 2011

love a man that can cook

It is no secret that I love to cook. But honestly, sometimes I just want to sit on the couch and let dinner magically arrive in front of me without having to lift a finger.
The hubs and I have started a new cooking challenge... every other weekend we take turns and pick a dish we've never made before and cook it, in hopes of finding new easy recipes to add to our normal rotation of meals or something for special occasions or even guests. Two weeks ago I made tandoori chicken, which you can read about here. This past weekend was the man's turn. He waffled about with several ideas and finally landed on a dish from one of the Rick Bayless cookbooks I bought for him a few years back (which has only gotten used twice... just sayin'). I have a bit of an obsession with Rick Bayless, I admit. I'd pretty much eat anything he cooked and put in front of me, which is saying a lot because I'm a picky eater! But this man... this man is MAGICAL in that super dorky/slightly creepy white boy that knows more about Mexican culture/customs than anyone on this planet kind of way. Needless to say, I was pretty pumped for dinner and luckily, I was not disappointed!

Jalapeno-Baked Fish With Roasted Tomatoes and Potatoes

• 4 medium (1 pound) red skin boiling or Yukon Gold potatoes, sliced 1/4 inch thick
• 1 tablespoon jalapeño chili pepper pickling juice
• 2 tablespoons vegetable or olive oil
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• 1 can (14.5 ounces) diced tomatoes (preferably fire-roasted), including their juice
• 1 large clove garlic, cut in half (we love garlic and use 3 cloves)
• 1/3 cup coarsely chopped cilantro, plus extra for garnish
• 1/4 cup sliced, pickled jalapeño chili peppers
• 1 tablespoon jalapeño chili pepper pickling juice
• 4 to (1 to 1/1/4 pounds) skinless fish fillets, such as mahi-mahi, halibut, grouper, snapper, black cod or striped bass, preferably 3/4 to 1 inch thick, patted dry (we used mahi-mahi, from the freezer section)

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
In a microwaveable 8-by-8-inch baking dish, toss together the potatoes, 1 tablespoon of the oil and the salt, and spread out evenly. Cover the dish with plastic wrap and poke a few holes in the top. Microwave on high (100 percent power) until the potatoes are nearly tender, about 4 to 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a food processor or blender, combine the tomatoes with their juice, garlic, cilantro, jalapeno chili peppers and the tablespoon of pickling juice. Process with a few quick pulses until well combined but not quite smooth.
In a large skillet over medium-high heat, heat the remaining tablespoon of oil and quickly sear the fillets on both sides, about 15 seconds per side. Remove from the hot pan and set aside.
When the potatoes have finished cooking, place the fish fillets in a single layer over the potatoes. Pour the tomato mixture evenly over the fish and potatoes. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the fish can be flaked easily with a fork.
Divide among individual plates and garnish with cilantro. Serve hot.

Let me just say, YUM! He used mahi-mahi as our protein. It is one of my favorite fish, but I couldn't find any fresh at the local grocery store and ended up picking up frozen fillets at Trader Joe's, and they really worked out great. The real gem of this dish is the salsa. In fact, last night I made the salsa from this recipe and chowed down with a hand full of tortilla chips, it is just that good.
The man raved about how easy and quick it was to prepare and we (us plus our dinner guest) raved about the great flavor, so it was win win! We'll be adding this as a somewhat regular dish in our house. I can see this recipe working great for chicken as well, but since I have a more difficult time getting my husband to want fish for dinner (and I love fish!) we'll probably stick with fish here.  
  the "judge" for our cooking challenge, aka a hungry college student

If you try the recipe, let me know what you think... and if you're not a meat eater, then totally just make the salsa. You'll thank me.


  1. Oh great, just what I need...an excuse to make (and eat) salsa! :-) I'm all about a new recipe, though, so we might just give it a whirl.

  2. What's this we business. I read this and thought, "I guess I have another salsa recipe."

    I think that I will make the whole dish for myself and Adriane can have the salsa potatoes.

  3. Do it Shaun, and let me know what you think. Paired with a nice salad or some green veg it's totally a healthy meal, too!

  4. Wow, mama, you must be special to get a comment on your blog from Shaun! Apparently way more "specialer" than me. ;-) Salsa potatoes do sound good, though...