Saturday, May 2, 2009

Do it for the Halibut.

Cinco De Mayo, sometimes mistakenly translated as "a fifth of Mayonnaise," is often more about the beer or margaritas than it is about the food. Which makes me sad.

On the inside.

On the outside I'm probably the one yelling, "We should totally go camping, like, right now, but only after we collect some firewood and kindling... To the trees!" Tequila does this to me. Tequila has also provided me with many many many stories, which I usually end up telling in lengthy detail when I'm drinking tequila. My Spanish also improves tenfold, but still, I try to avoid tequila when at all possible.

I managed to avoid it altogether this Cinco De Mayo, so you can close up this window if you're waiting to hear all about the room made up entirely of empty mountain dew cans, losing my keys camping, or how Sharpies and passing out don't mix--I guess now you'd call it posting videos up on Facebook? You could chronicle the night's events on your best friend's arms as you dragged him from bar to bar. My friends and I set our alarm for the next morning just so we could see his face when he saw his face after he woke-up.

Priceless and only semi-permanent. What's not to like?

SO this year, after securing the Patron and Sharpies and moving them to an undisclosed location, I set about the task of making some great food to celebrate the return of a good friend. The menu was pretty simple grilled fish tacos with mango salsa, and shredded cabbage:


And beer too. It is extremely difficult to grill without a beer unless you have a thermometer. Not only does the beer help cleanse your palate of all the smoke, it also records the passage of time, all while tasting far better than any egg timer could possibly dream of. True, it significantly lacks the ability to "ding!", but that's what "Cheers!" is for.

Armed with my handy dandy grill timer in one hand and spatula in the other, I grilled this huge piece of Alaskan Halibut, and finished it with a cilantro-lime butter.
Flavored butters can be as easy as you want them to be, and also add a great amount flavor if you don't have the time or desire to do a rub, marinade, or sauce. Here, you simply add one cube frozen garlic, two cubes frozen cilantro, the juice of half a lime, some salt, pepper, and but of course, a half a stick of softened butter. I like to use unsalted.

Who knew I could be a control freak, right?

Right. Which is why I went ahead and busted out the higher end butter for our friend as pictured here to the right. "Same, Same, but Different" Cilantro Herb Butter:
Soften half a stick of unsalted butter, zest one lime, mince a handful of fresh cilantro, on that same zester goes a half a clove of garlic, a small pinch of cumin, a small squeeze of lime juice, salt and pepper to taste. You could double this recipe and have enough butter to finish steamed rice with the following night.

Once the Halibut was just about done, I removed it from the grill, topped it with a hefty amount of butter and tented it with foil,to allow the fish to finish cooking and absorb some of the yummy goodness.

Next came the Mango Salsa. It didn't taste nearly as washed out as it appears. You'll just have to trust me on that one.
The ingredients are all pretty much in the first picture of the post. I really can't think of anything I love making more than salsa. For me, they each have their own personality, and you never know when that jalapeno is going to be super angry, or just mildly put off. Which is why you have to take a bite of the jalapeno my friends. Sometimes you get burned, but it's a sure fire way to tell if the heat is right or not. Dice one Mango, a quarter red onion, one jalapeno, slice 4 scallions, mince a handful of cilantro, squeeze one lime, and add salt and pepper the salsa. That's if the Jalapeno was hot, if it's mild, taste the other one, and use two if need be.

William loved this salsa because he abscounded with the mango pit. The meal was great, the conversation was better, and the amount of wipes it took to clean the mango juice up and get it off of his trains was flat out criminal.


  1. Mmmmm -- tried this last night but with mahi mahi. The cilantro lime butter made all the difference. Fish was moist. We're putting the left-overs over rice tonight. I'll let you know. . .

  2. Have you ever put roasted corn in your mango salsa? Or are there other unusual salsas that would go with fish or chicken? I'm thinking a buffet where, even though I might have to do some prep, I'd be free to visit once my guests started arriving.

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  4. Anon,

    I love using Roasted Corn in my tomatillo salsa!

    It's a hot one!

    1 handful chile de arbol (and I do mean handful)
    3 cloves garlic
    boil the heck outta them in lightly salted water.

    1 lb tomatillos (husked and washed)
    2 roma tomatoes
    Roast these on the grill or on your gas burners until blackend place them in a SS or glass bowl and cover with plastic wrap.

    Fresh roasted corn (the roasted corn at TJ's would do here if need be)

    peel your blackened tomatillos and two tomatoes (set one tomato aside) drain your chiles and garlic and blend those with your tomatillos and one tomato. If it's crazy hot add that other tomato. It won't help, but it might make you feel like you did something.

    Cut the kernels off of the cob or grab a knife and slice open that bag of corn and fold in the corn to the salsa. cubed avocado also is fantastic in this.

    If you are doin a buffet, braised meats do best. think boneless skinless chicken thighs or boneless pork butt. they just get yummier as they sit. This way you can do all of the work a day in advance, and then reheat, shower, and plate the day of the gala.

    ps: don't forget to take off your "Will cook for sex! -New Orleans, La." apron before your guests arrive. You'll never hear the end of it.