Let’s Heat Things Up

Kelli Chaves Issue: Section:

Memorial Day for me has always been a great way to kick off summer. I love all the bbq’s and outdoor events that the good weather brings.  The one thing I don’t exactly love about the season is the high temperatures and the humidity that come along with it.  This is one of the reasons why I tend to prefer lighter meals in the summer.  

This past weekend I was lucky enough to combine the holiday with some long overdue family time.  We even got the treat of eating poolside, which can’t be beat in this California sunshine.    I wanted to get into the swing of things with a meal that is not only fresh and exciting, but also has tons of flavor and excitement.  One of my favorite go to dishes for summer is fish. And what better way to start off a weekend of family fun and FOOD than with pan seared mahi mahi, coconut ginger fried quinoa, and a little mango salsa to top things off?  It’s the perfect balance of heat and a little sweet.

Pan Seared Mahi Mahi with Mango Salsa (serves 2)

For the Mahi Mahi

2 mahi mahi fillets (deboned)

Olive oil




For the Mango Salsa

1 mango (peeled and diced)

1 avocado (peeled and diced)

1 tomato (diced)

½ red onion (diced)

⅓ cup cilantro (chopped)

Juice of ½ lime

Dash of apple cider vinegar

Salt and pepper to taste


To prepare the fish:

Lightly rub each mahi mahi fillet with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Get a pan screaming hot, I’m talking medium high to high heat here folks and be sure that the pan is dry.  When screaming hot, add your fish and let cook for 3-4 minutes, depending on thickness of fillet.  The trick here is to not touch or move the fish until it’s time to flip.  After 3-4 minutes, flip the fish and cook for another 3-4 minutes, this gets the fish a nice crispy on the outside.  The fish is done when it is white and flaky.

To prepare the salsa:

Mix all of the ingredients in a bowl.  Stir gently to combine.  Salt and pepper to your liking and serve on top of the mahi mahi fillets.

Coconut Ginger Fried Quinoa

1 cup quinoa (rinsed)

15 oz can of coconut milk

2 Tbsp olive oil

1 ½ Tbsps ginger, finely grated (or minced)

3 cloves garlic (minced)

1 scallion thinly sliced (green and white parts separated)

1 Tbsp fish sauce (substitute soy sauce if you don’t have fish sauce on hand)

2 tbsp of Sriracha (more/less to your liking)

½ lime (juiced)

¼ cup cilantro, chopped (optional)

Place quinoa in a saucepan with the coconut milk, bring to a boil.  Cover and let simmer until quinoa is fully cooked and coconut milk is absorbed.  You can cook the quinoa a day ahead of time if you’ve got a few extra moments on your hands (lucky you)! Be sure to refrigerate the quinoa if you make in advance.  If cooking on day of, once cooked, set quinoa to the side.  You can allow it to cool while you prepare the following.

In a large wok or skillet add olive oil and heat till it’s shimmering*. (If you flick some water into the pan the oil should shimmer a bit.) Once the oil is shimmering, add ginger and garlic and stir for one minute, then add the cooled quinoa and allow to cook for 3 to 4 minutes.  I like to let mine get a nice brown color on it so I stir occasionally letting the quinoa get a bit toasted.  This also allows the ginger and garlic to really start to marry their flavors with the quinoa.

Next, add in the white part of the scallions and half of your cilantro and stir for about 2 more minutes.  Add the fish sauce and stir everything together for another minute or two longer.  The highlight of this dish in my opinion is the Sriracha.  Add this to the skillet along with the green parts of the scallions and the rest of the cilantro and give it a good stir to mix everything together.  Remove from heat and squeeze the lime over the top and give the quinoa a light fluff!  Ta-da!  You have an excellent side dish for your mahi mahi!

This dish was a huge hit!  You can pair with  your favorite summer veggie or just let the dish stand alone.  My sister and I are big sangria fans and have deemed 2013 as the Summer of Sangria, so we whipped up a batch of raspberry serrano sangria to keep with our “spicy summer theme”. I found the recipe online but after making it, the reviews were mixed and I’m not sure it’s one to add to my must have list.  Anyone out there have a standout spicy sangria to share?  


Overall, it was a wonderfully spicy start to summer.


*(Shimmering oil is when hot oil is nearing its smoking point)





All content © original author. If you feel there may have been a mistake, please contact us.