Mahi mahi recipes are no different than any other recipe.  I’m sure you know by now how I feel about recipes.  They have inherent flaws that make them very difficult to duplicate consistently.  If you’re going to get varied results from the same recipe, why even follow it in the first place?

Cooking is a chore when you have to follow someone else’s written instructions.  However, cooking becomes inspirational and therapeutic in many ways when you follow your own creativity and desires.

I hear it all the time, people tell me about a great cook they know that can “just throw things together”.  This metaphorical throwing of food means these people understand the methods behind all recipes and cook with their own rules, using the ingredients they want to.

So, here I am in a rental condo kitchen in Kauai, Hawaii and I’ve just returned from the Dolphin Fish Market in Hanalei with a piece of fish that was swimming just hours ago.  Without any mahi mahi recipes in sight, I’ll improvise an outstanding dinner with the very few ingredients I could pick up at the local grocer.

The key to cooking the fish correctly is choosing the best cooking method.  Last time I was here, I was also cooking fish with rum, but it was Monchung, a much tougher and meatier fish.  Since Mahi Mahi is a delicate fish, I want to cook it quickly under high heat.  Saute’ method is the perfect choice since I have much more control over the heat than baking or poaching the fish.

Along with some packaged Udon Noodles, sliced Portobello Mushrooms, and a bit of rum for deglazing, all I need is the flavor of the fresh mahi mahi.  Since I don’t make a habit of bringing cookbooks on vacation with me, I’m not bound to over-complicate this dish with a multitude of recipe commanded ingredients.  I’ll keep it quick and simple.

Once I remove the skin and cut the fish into smaller pieces so it will cook more quickly, it’s a matter of placing the mahi mahi in heated butter and watch the item turn from fleshy to cooked-white.  This is called coagulation of proteins and a great indicator of when to turn the item over, and when it’s finished.

What’s left in the pan is called “fond”, the rendered fats and material from the fish.  It’s an excellent place to start building levels of flavor, and the Portobello mushrooms will add even more texture to the dish.  Once they’re sauteed, the Udon Noodles and the mushroom flavor packet they came with are quickly stir-fried and we’re done!

You can spend your vacation searching for mahi mahi recipes, or you can just go buy a fresh piece of fish and improvise your way to an outstanding Hawaiian meal.  Keep in mind that HOW you cook something is so much more important than WHAT you cook, or what the recipe tells you to do.

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