I originally planned to make Jenny’s Loaded Baked Potato Soup, but I ended up making too many changes, all good, but didn’t feel it kept in the spirit of the original recipe (my soup). No problem, I easily decided on one of her many fish recipes, Mahi Mahi and Creamy Polenta with Roasted Tomato Vinaigrette. Unfortunately in landlocked St. Louis, fish options are limited. Whole Foods had no mahi mahi, but the fishmonger suggested swordfish as a nice alternative. Sold.
This recipe is spot on in taste and texture. The cooking time for the fish is FLAWLESS. I don’t think I’ve ever cooked fish so perfectly, with the key being to take it off the flame when it is pink. Really pink. It DOES continue to cook to the just the right doneness. Jenny’s recipe uses asparagus, which Craig doesn’t care for, so I subbed fennel that she says was used in the original Emeril recipe. I roasted half an onion with the tomatoes and fennel, a nice addition, threw in a big spoonful of capers, and used red wine vinegar in the vinaigrette. I had leftover polenta in the ‘frig from my favorite polenta recipe from Frank Stitt, so I didn't make Jenny’s recipe, which I’ve included here. I’m sure it’s great. This is a keeper dinner.
Swordfish and Creamy Polenta with Roasted Tomato Vinaigrette
(recipe reflects my changes)
1 1/3 Cwater
1 1/3 C low-fat milk
1 T butter
2/3 C polenta
2 T Creme Fraiche (or low-fat sour cream)
1/3 C parmesan cheese
1 1/2 T olive oil (plus extra for cooking)
Half a large onion, sliced thickly
Fennel bulb, sliced, core discarded
3 ripe roma tomatoes, sliced in half
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 bunch fresh rosemary
2 t dried thyme
Spoonful of capers
1 1/2 T red vinegar
2 6 oz. swordfish fillets
Preheat the oven to 350F.
For the polenta:
In a large saucepan, bring the water, milk and butter to a boil, then add 1/2 tsp salt to the mixture. Quickly whisk the polenta into the mixture, stirring constantly until any lumps are gone (about 4 minutes). Reduce heat and let the polenta simmer, partially covered, stirring every 10 minutes, until the polenta is smooth and thick (about 45 minutes).
For the fish:
While the polenta is cooking, cover a sheet pan with heavy duty foil and spray with olive oil. Arrange the onions, fennel, and tomatoes (cut side down and at the end of the pan), and on the pan and sprinkle with capers. Drizzle olive oil over the vegetables and season with 1 tbsp chopped rosemary, 1 tsp thyme, salt and pepper.
Bake at 350F until the tomatoes are very tender (about 20-25 minutes). Set aside three tomato halves for the vinaigrette and cover the pan with foil to keep warm.
For the vinaigrette, process 3 tomato halves, 1 1/2 tbsp olive oil, vinegar, 1/8 tsp salt and 1/8 tsp pepper in a food processor until smooth.
Once the polenta is thick and smooth, add the Creme Fraiche (or sour cream) and parmesan, then stir until smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper and keep warm over low heat.
Season each fish fillet with salt, pepper, thyme and chopped rosemary.
Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a sauté pan and sear the fish until cooked through, 3 minutes per side. USE THE TIMER, AND DO NOT COOK ANY LONGER, because it will cook longer as it rests and you plate up the rest of the dinner.
Split the polenta between two dishes, top each with a fish fillet and drizzle the tomato vinaigrette over each. Place the roasted vegetables around the fish and serve.