This fantastic dish was our Valentines' Day dinner, but it wasn't supposed to be. We planned on steak with a sultry red beet risotto (recipe on the way), but there was a last minute change of plans.
When Mike and I first moved to Florida almost 5 years ago (I can't believe it's been that long!), we decided to take up scuba diving because, well, we could. What's the point of living down here if you don't take advantage of the tropical water temps and year round summer, right?
We've dived near Fort Lauderdale many times now and prefer to dive when we're on vacation in some appropriate locale (Vietnam was especially amazing). But, if we're not doing any traveling, we'll dive close to home every 6 months or so to maintain our skills.
So, due to the warm weather we had last week, we booked a dive trip for Valentine's morning. Although we know this, it's always a shock how much diving just sucks the wind out of you! We got home by 12:30 and all we wanted to do was shower, eat a late breakfast and take a nap. Even after all that, I still felt fairly exhausted and didn't have much of an appetite. So, we nixed the plan for steak and nice red wine and had this lighter fish dish and a little sake instead. Also, being out on the ocean just gives me a taste for seafood--sorry, you lovers of marine life.
This is something I put together on the fly, and I was really pleased with how well it turned out. The Asian glaze is super-simple, and if you need a grain side dish for any reason, this barley is fantastic. The mushrooms soak up splashes of Sherry and soy sauce like little sponges and become infused with flavor. I hope your Valentine's Day was as happy as mine! Now tell me, what did you cook?
Glazed Mahi Mahi and Barley with Soy-Sherry Shiitakes
This is a really nice recipe for two, but you can double it to serve four. When I cook with Asian ingredients like soy sauce and oyster sauce, which are often high in sodium, I use little or no salt. You can always add more at the end. Really great sea salt is excellent as a finishing salt because you'll be better able to enjoy the flavor and texture. If you don't have mahi mahi, try another mild fish, like cod or tilapia.
2 (6 to 8 ounce) fillets mahi mahi, skin on, about 1-inch thick
Freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 Tbs. oyster sauce
1/2 Tbs. low-sodium soy sauce
1/2 Tbs. fish sauce
1/4 tsp. dark sesame oil
1 Tbs. canola oil
6 scallions, thinly sliced (divided use)
2 to 3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 1/3 cup mushroom or chicken broth
2/3 cup quick-cooking barley
3 Tbs. low-sodium soy sauce, plus more to taste
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
1/2 Tbs. unsalted butter
6 shiitake mushrooms, stemmed and sliced
3 Tbs. dry Sherry
Coarse sea salt, for serving
To make the fish, preheat oven to 400 degrees and coat a small baking dish with nonstick cooking spray and add the mahi mahi; season with black pepper to taste. In a small bowl, whisk together the remaining ingredients and drizzle over fish. Bake for 15 minutes or until cooked through (recommended internal temp 145 F).
To make the barley, heat the oil in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Add half the scallions and cook until soft. Add the garlic and cook 1 minute more. Raise heat to high, add the broth and bring to a simmer. Stir in the barley, 1 tablespoon of the soy sauce and black pepper to taste. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer 20 minutes, or according to package directions. Remove from heat and keep covered 5 to 10 minutes.
While barley cooks, heat butter in a small skillet over medium-low heat. Add mushrooms and cook until they release their liquid. Raise heat to medium high and cook, stirring occasionally until liquid evaporates and mushrooms are just tender (if mushrooms are getting browned, reduce heat). Add Sherry and cook until mushrooms soak up all the liquid. Add remaining 2 tablespoons soy sauce and cook until absored. Season with black pepper and remove from heat.
To serve, stir mushrooms into the barley. Divide barley among two plates and top with fish fillets (remove skin before plating if you like). Garnish with remaining scallions. Offer sea salt at the table in case additional seasoning is desired.