Blackened Mahimahi with Black-Eyed Pea Relish
September, 2004

Serves 6
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cooking Time: 90 minutes

The bold combination of flavors in this dish reflects Lunsford's culinary philosophy: "The human tongue can only detect four tastes -- bitter, sour, sweet and salty. When these four components are introduced into a dish, balance is achieved."

1 cup dried black-eyed peas
1 bay leaf
5 thyme sprigs
5 black peppercorns
3 parsley sprigs
1 clove garlic, peeled
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 small red onion, diced
1 teaspoon fresh sage, chopped
6 6-ounce mahimahi filets
Clarified butter, melted, or canola oil
6 tablespoons blackening spice
1 bunch spinach, washed and stems removed
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon red chile flakes

1. Place peas in a heavy saucepan with enough water to cover, and bring to a boil over high heat. Turn the heat off, and let peas sit for 1 hour. Wrap and tie the next 5 ingredients in cheese cloth to form a sachet and place it in the saucepan with the peas and the balsamic vinegar. Add more water to cover the peas. Bring to a simmer and cook until the peas are just tender, about 45 minutes. Turn off the heat, add the salt, and let stand for 15 minutes. Drain the peas, discarding the sachet.

2. To make the Black-Eyed Pea Relish, whisk 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, red wine vinegar, red onion and sage together in a large mixing bowl. While the peas are still warm, toss them in the vinaigrette and set aside at room temperature.

3. Place a cast iron skillet on high heat until the pan starts to smoke. Dip the mahimahi filets in the clarified butter, then dredge them in the blackening spice. For less heat, dredge one side; for more, dredge both sides. Place the filets, spice side down, in the preheated skillet, then reduce the heat to medium. Allow to blacken, keeping in mind that this will produce an ample amount of smoke. Turn the filets and finish cooking to desired degree of doneness.

4. While the fish cooks, warm a sauté pan over low heat and add 2 tablespoons of olive oil. When the oil is warm, add the minced garlic and red chili flakes and let cook 1 minute to infuse the oil. Add the spinach and cook just until wilted. Season spinach to taste with salt.

5. To serve, place 1/2 cup of the wilted spinach in the middle of a warm dinner plate and top with a mahimahi filet. Top each of the filets with two tablespoons of the Black-Eyed Pea Relish. Spoon some of the vinaigrette onto the plate, too.

Calories 401,Fat 16,Perfat 34,Cholesterol 35,Carbo 27,Protein 41,Fiber N/A,Sodium N/A