Saturday, August 7, 2010

seared mahi mahi with green tomato-pineapple sage sambal

in thai and filipino cuisine a sambal can designate a multitude of sauces or sides. usually it's gonna be a scorching red sauce, but it varies greatly in components and there's green sambals too. the usual suspects are peppers or chillies and shallots. they can incorporate tamarind, fish sauce, mango leaves, all sorts of unexpected ingredients, depending on region. mine was gonna be a casual pineapple salsa, but i had this green tomato that had fallen to the ground during the last storm. (i think one more of those and my garden is going to rot from the roots up, jeesh).  maybe it's a bit improper to name it sambal, because i can't add any heat to stuff i feed my daughter, but the methodology is the same - you chop up whatever you want in, and then you stir-fry it quickly on high heat. 
the fish is a very simple story - you just rub some coarse salt on it, you heat up a tiny bit of oil in a pan, and when it's very hot you sear the fish about 2 minutes on each side. done. the sambal has a bold profile, so to avoid conflicting flavors we season the fish simply.

for the sambal:

2 shallots, or 1 onion, chopped finely;
1 green tomato, cubed, about 1 cup;
1 cup pineapple, cubed;
1/4 cup packed fresh pineapple sage leaves, minced, about 10 to 12;
1 hot pepper, finely chopped, optional;
2 ts sugar;
2 ts sherry vinegar.

once you have everything cubed bite-size, heat up two teaspoons of olive oil and saute the shallot. when it's soft, add the green tomato and the sugar. once it's melted stir in the vinegar, then add the pineapple and mix.  finally, stir in the chopped sage and remove from heat. if you wish to add heat, use your favorite pepper - a mild poblano or a gutsy habanero - throw it in after softening the shallot. the whole thing will take you about 5 minutes, and it should all be done on high heat. spoon over the fish and serve.

this was a big hit over here. my daughter eats fish pretty well, but the great thing about this was that she ate the side rice, too. the rice had green beans, carrots and mushrooms, and she really doesn't like the green beans, but when i perched a piece of pineapple on top it had a whole new allure, and for once there was no drama. 


  1. minunata reteta Dana :) te pup curand !

  2. Thinks looks so fresh and amazing. I wish I could eat this for dinner!

  3. very informative post and the fish is so yummy!

  4. anca, mersi mult!

    amy, thanks! it is a light meal, perfect with the heat we've been having!

    alison, thanks! we like mahi-mahi, it's very mild and quite meaty. i sometimes grill it and it's delicious!

  5. No dramas at dinner?..Got to love any meal that ensures that!

  6. Dana, you do so well for the mother of a fussy eater! Beautiful looking photo, great recipe - thanks!

  7. chfg, right you are, goodness knows they're rare enough!

    celia, thanks. i feel so lucky that she's started to eat fish, at last there's protein she's not rejecting point blank.

  8. I love seeing thai / asian flavors on blogs. I am never bold enough to tackle those flavors at home and it is so inspirational to see other people doing it. I bet this was delicious even without the heat!

  9. jessica, thank you! it really was a stand-out dish, we've been eating a lot of fish lately and this one is a definite keeper, very easy and with a special flavor.

  10. I've never thought of making sambal before, very nice... love the light coming in on the pic...


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