Monday, March 14, 2011

Pepita-Crusted Mahi with Maple-Ginger Mashed Rutabagas and Cranberry Salsa

Today we’re mixing things up a little bit, and I’m going to do something I don’t normally do here. I’m going to share three recipes in one post. See, it’s kind of important that I give you all three recipes at once because they all go together to make one heck of a dinner. If I only gave you one recipe at a time that would make me a tease, and no one wants to be labeled a tease – am I right? Maybe we shouldn’t go there…

The star of this post, and the main component of the meal, is Pepita-Crusted Mahi. Pepitas are pumpkin seeds that have had their outer shells removed. They have a mildly nutty flavor that makes a great base for a flavorful “crust” when ground up and combined with crunchy panko bread crumbs, lime zest, cumin, and smoked paprika. The flavors in the pepita coating are the perfect compliment to mahi’s flaky, meaty texture and mild taste. All together, it’s a pretty delicious piece of fish.

To go with your entrée, you’re going to need a side dish, and Maple-Ginger Mashed Rutabagas are an excellent accompaniment to the Pepita-Crusted Mahi. In this recipe, the rutabaga is roasted in the oven with fresh ginger, maple syrup, and just a pinch of cinnamon until it is tender and caramelized. It is then mashed (or puréed – your choice) until smooth and creamy. If you’ve never tried this often overlooked root vegetable, this is definitely a good recipe to introduce you to it.

Finally, to add a bright pop of color to your plate, we have Cranberry Salsa. While I’ve had fruit-based salsas before (mango, pineapple, peach, etc.), cranberries in salsa form was a new one for me. Let me just say – so, so good. The extreme tartness of the fresh cranberries is tempered with sugar, tangy lime juice, and the kick of heat and savory flavor from jalapeno, fresh ginger, green onion, and (optional) cilantro. The salsa tastes delicious on its own, but it also works well to tie everything on the plate together. Try a bite of fish with salsa, a taste of fish with rutabaga, some salsa with rutabaga – you get the idea. However you load your fork, your mouth will be happy with this somewhat unusual and intriguing mix of flavors.

One Year Ago: Maple Granola To-Go

Pepita-Crusted Mahi with Maple-Ginger Mashed Rutabagas and Cranberry Salsa
Adapted from Cara’s Cravings

For the Maple-Ginger Mashed Rutabagas:1 lb. rutabaga, peeled and diced
1 1/2 tsp. butter, melted
1 T. fresh ginger, minced
1 T. maple syrup
Pinch of cinnamon
1/4 cup milk (I used skim)

For the Cranberry Salsa:
1/2 cup fresh cranberries
2 T. granulated sugar
1 tsp. fresh jalapeno, minced
1 tsp. fresh ginger, minced
1 green onion, thinly sliced
2 T. fresh cilantro, chopped (optional)
Juice from 1/2 a lime
Salt, to taste

For the Pepita-Crusted Mahi:
12 to 16 oz. mahi fillets, thawed if frozen
1 oz. pepitas, unsalted raw or roasted and salted
2 T.panko bread crumbs
Zest from 1/2 a lime
1/4 tsp. smoked paprika
1/8 tsp. ground cumin
1 egg white, lightly beaten
Pinch of salt (if using unsalted pepitas, otherwise omit)

For the Maple-Ginger Mashed Rutabagas:
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

Add the rutabagas and ginger to a baking dish. (I used an 8x8 glass baking dish.)

Drizzle the butter and maple syrup over the rutabagas and ginger. Sprinkle with cinnamon, and toss to combine.

Roast for 45 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes or so, until tender and caramelized on the edges.

Transfer the rutabagas to a mixing bowl. Pour in the milk and mash the rutabagas with a potato masher. You can also purée the mixture in a blender or food processor.

For the Cranberry Salsa:
In a food processor, add all of the ingredients and pulse until the cranberries are in small pieces. Do not purée.

Set aside for at least 10 minutes to allow the flavors to combine.

For the Pepita-Crusted Mahi:
Preheat the oven to 425. Place a metal wire cooling rack over a baking sheet. Spray the rack with non-stick cooking spray.

In a food processor, add the pepitas, panko, lime zest, smoked paprika, cumin, and salt (if using). Pulse until the mixture is ground into relatively fine crumbs. Place the crumbs on a plate.

Dip the mahi fillets into the egg white then dredge them in the pepita crumb mixture. Place the coated fillets onto the prepared baking sheet. Spray the fish with cooking spray.

Bake the mahi for 10 minutes, or until the fish is just cooked through and flakes easily with a fork.

To Serve:
Place half of the mashed rutabagas in the center of two plates. Add a piece of mahi on top of the rutabagas. Top the mahi with cranberry salsa. Serve immediately or the salsa with make the crust on the fish turn soggy.

Serves 2, but can easily be doubled or tripled to serve more.


  1. This looks so delicious and company-worthy! I'm just curious -- where do you buy your seafood? I haven't had much luck with fresh seafood here in No-Al -- I guess I have to resort to frozen filets. I'd love to make this dish as it reminds of home (SoCal). I'm going to Costco today -- perhaps they have decent frozen mahi?

  2. I love your step by step tutorial! Great pictures. I'm so glad you liked it!

  3. LC - Thank you! For this recipe, I used frozen, wild-caught mahi filets from Trader Joe's. I don't buy a lot of seafood around here since we're landlocked. If I had a higher grocery budget though, I'd buy fresh fish at Whole Foods! Ah, to dream... :)

  4. Cara - Thank you for the sweet compliments - and the delicious recipe :)

  5. I haven't tried any of the recipes above exactly, but I plan to - it looks delicious!

    But, I did roast a yam with your rutabaga technique. I didn't mash them, ate them crispy/soft out of the oven like candy - wonderful!!



Related Posts with Thumbnails