Scenario A: You have no time but you want something pretty. YES. This is your dinner.
Scenario B: You have guests to impress the holy bejeebies out of. YES: This is your dinner.
Scenario C: You're tempted to use a bottle of Marinara from your pantry, but you don't embarrass yourself and just make spaghetti. YES. This is your dinner!
While cleaning my kitchen after making this beautiful meal. I realized that I had only just begin my meal about 2 hours before. That means I prepped, cooked, plated, served, ate, laughed, sighed and then cleaned up in less time than it takes most people to get a mani-pedi. And I totally jumped for joy! (But then I dirtied the kitchen again to make cookies. Go figure. Ron loves his chocolate chip cookies!)
Yes, Wahoo is a bit pricy. And you will have to shell out a few Lincolns to buy the best. Yes it is worth every red, cotton-picking cent. I recommend that you downplay the fact that the meal prep was fast, and get to setting your table with love, and turning on some classical music. Bach was my background. Linens were ironed and silky. And the Riedel glasses were center stage.
Once I took that first bite, I was actually surprised at the transcendent experience of it all! It tasted like pearls and silk, and a spray of the sea. So moist, and velvety. So fresh and firm yet the fork went through it perfectly, flaking in a way that reminded me of of how Grace Kelly might bow, or how Marilyn Monroe might take a seat. JUST THAT GORGEOUS.
Although I added a few twists like fried eggplant, NONE of this was complicated. In fact eggplant might even be considered peasant food next to this high-faluting, celebrity of fish yumminess. But when battered and fried, and covered with marinara, it complimented everything! You should know that I baked the fish with just a hint of fine Tuscan flavored olive oil and salt and pepper. The textures were perfect.
Super lovely, eh? And served with a little bit of cheesy, garlicky pasta, then topped with hot red chiles, I was even scaring myself into believing I had truly reached the pinnacle of Wednesday dinner nirvana.
Hopefully you will feel the same when you try it!
RECIPE: Tuscan Baked Wahoo, with Corn Meal Yogurt Fried Eggplant, Pasta and Marinara
2 6 ounce Wahoo filets
1 small red chile pepper diced finely
4 C fresh arugula
1 medium sized eggplant cut: 1 ½” discs
1/3 C (+ or -) good olive oil
2 T Tuscan olive oil
Salt and pepper (Generous amounts! See recipe for how to season)
¼ C corn meal
¼ C all-purpose flour
½ t oregano
½ t coriander powder
¼ C plain yogurt
Milk to moisten
2 C bottled marinara sauce
1 T good white balsamic
Flat leaf parsley to garnish
3 ounces angel hair pasta
1/3 C fresh grated parmesan cheese
Dash of garlic powder
In a bowl, combine the cornmeal, flour, oregano, coriander and about 1 t salt and ¼ t pepper. Combine well. Beat the two eggs and add. Stir to combine. Add enough milk, adding only about 2 T at a time, until it resembles runny pancake syrup. Cut up the eggplant and set on a plate with a paper towel underneath. You’ll use that to drain the eggplant when fried.
Bring a large saute pan to high heat and add enough olive oil to be about ¼ inch deep. Dip the eggplant in the better, covering WELL, and fry in the oil until crispy and light brown. (I typically turn the heat to about medium high after they begin to cook so you can keep your oil at a constant temp. If you’re using a deep fryer, fry at 375 degrees F.) Remove, drain. Don’t cover, they’ll get soggy.
In a shallow baking dish, place the Wahoo skin side down, rub with 2 T tuscan flavored olive oil. (You can use plain if you’d like. Don’t use any other strong flavor, though. Wahoo is GREAT on its own. Just a hint of flavor is what you’re after and I find the Tuscan oil to be balanced and perfect for this dish.) Sprinkle with 1 T kosher salt and ½ t cracked black pepper. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Bake for 12 minutes. Remove and cover with foil and let sit for about 3 minutes.
Cook pasta in 6 C boiling water to al dente. Drain, add the cheese, 1 T oil and garlic powder. Toss. Heat the marinara in a saucepan.
To plate. Toss the arugula with about 1 T oil and 1 T balsamic. Place on dish. Place 2 of the eggplant discs on the plate, and then the pasta. Spread the marinara over. Then top with the cooked fish and garnish with the chopped chili peppers and the parsley. Serve!
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Meet the Cook...
My name is Camine Pappas and I love to create beautiful and delicious food that anyone can make. My signature style is one of combining things in a way you might not expect as I work to find a hidden combination of colors, textures and flavors from the things that are in my pantry and/or easy to obtain.