Today I want to share one of those recipes that you may want to keep in your back pocket to use when you want to impress your guests. It will make it seem as if you spent hours in the kitchen, but it is very simple, easy to make, doesn’t take a lot of time, and it is as beautiful as it is delicious. I am very excited for my garden doing so well this year. Our peas grew beautifully; my herbs are doing great, we have onions, zucchini, peppers, tomatoes… I just love all the beautiful bounties of summer!
I got my hands on some Mahi Mahi and lately have been making a lot of different recipes with it. For some reason I really enjoy eating fish and sea food in the summer, more than any other time of the year. Blame it on my background growing up in the Caribbean, or simply because it cooks quickly and we want to spend as much time as we can out of the kitchen to enjoy the sun and the warm breeze of summer.
There are three elements to this dish, the pea soup, the pan seared Mahi Mahi, and the avocado-mango salsa. I wanted to make a nice dinner for my mom, who is visiting from Venezuela, and has been making me lots of Venezuelan food. It is very nice to get home from work and find my favorite foods made. I needed to use my peas though. I still had my mom help me, but this time I taught her how to make this simple pea soup. The soup and the salsa have a lot of the same ingredients. There is a nice touch from the fresh herbs; mint and cilantro is added both to the soup and the salsa tying up all the flavors. The fish is tender and juicy and the salsa on top adds a spark of the Caribbean to complete the bite. Grab your garden fresh ingredients and let’s get cooking!
For the Pea Soup:
1.5 lb. fresh English peas
2 shallots (I happened to have fresh onion from the garden and used the tops as well)
1 sweet pepper (aji dulce)
1/2 Jalapeño, seeded
1 tablespoon coriander seeds
1 clove garlic
10 mint leaves
A handful of fresh cilantro
6 oz. sour cream
Salt & pepper
For the Mahi Mahi
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
6 pieces of Mahi Mahi
Salt & pepper
For the Salsa:
1 ripe avocado
3 sweet peppers
1/2 jalapeño, seeded
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
2 teaspoon lime juice
Salt & pepper
For garnish (optional)
1 tablespoon sour cream
Make the soup:
Preheat the oven to 200F. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Season with salt. Cut shallots, sweet peppers, and jalapeño in big chunks and add to the boiling water, add coriander seeds and garlic, stir and bring back to a boil. Add the fresh peas and cook until tender, it will take a minute or so. Strain reserving the cooking water. Place the strained ingredients in a blender, add mint, cilantro, sour cream, and one cup of the cooking water. Blend on high until smooth. If it feels to thick add more cooking liquid until you get the desired consistency, smooth and creamy, not runny. Taste and season with salt and pepper. Pass the soup through a strainer and reserve in the preheated oven to keep warm.
Make the Mahi Mahi:
In a large skillet add 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium heat. Cook 3 pieces of fish until seared on one side, you will know when you start seeing the sides changing color, about 3 minutes. Flip over and cook the other side until cooked through, about 3 more minutes. Transfer to a plate and place in the warm oven. Add the remaining tablespoon olive oil to the pan and repeat with the other 3 pieces of fish.
In the meantime, make the salsa:
In a medium bowl add the lime juice, dice the shallot and combine with the lime juice. Peel and seed the avocado and mango, cut in small dices, add to the bowl. Dice the sweet peppers and seeded jalapeño, add to the bowl. Cut the fresh mint and cilantro and, yeap! Add to the bowl. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon olive oil, season with salt and pepper. Gently combine all the ingredients with a spoon.
To serve: add 1 ladle of pea soup on the bottom of a serving plate. Place a piece of Mahi Mahi in the center of the soup. Top with 2 tablespoons avocado-mango salsa. For the optional garnish, mix the sour cream with 1 tablespoon of the cooking liquid from the peas, make circles around the soup with a dripping spoon. Add a pea flower on top. Enjoy!
Note: The pea soup recipe was adapted from Chef Michael Symon’s show Cook like an Iron Chef.