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Mahimahi with Tomatillo Dip

Resembling small green tomatoes, tomatillos are 1 to 2 inches in diameter and covered with a papery husk, which must be removed before cooking. Tomatillos are found in Latin markets and are acidic rather than sweet. To prepare them, use your fingers to peel off the papery husks under warm running water. The husks and the sticky, resinous substance that coats the fruits beneath the husks will rinse right off. Tomatillos are usually chopped and cooked before they are added to a sauce or salsa.

Ingredients:

For the tomatillo dip:

  • 3/4 cup hulled pumpkin seeds
  • 2 Tbs. canola oil
  • 1 small white onion, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 lb. tomatillos, husked and quartered
  • 1 jalapeño chili, seeded and minced
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 2 Tbs. chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 Tbs. chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

For the marinade:

  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
  • 2 Tbs. hot-pepper sauce
  • 1 Tbs. molasses
  • 1 Tbs. canola oil
  • 1 1/2 lb. mahimahi fillets
  • 4 wooden skewers, soaked in water for 20
      minutes, or metal skewers

Directions:

Prepare a fire in a charcoal grill or preheat a gas grill.

Meanwhile, make the tomatillo dip: In a small, dry fry pan over medium-high heat, toast the pumpkin seeds until they pop and brown slightly, about 5 minutes. Pour onto a plate and set aside.

In the same pan over medium heat, warm the canola oil. Add the onion and garlic and sauté until soft, about 5 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium-low and add the tomatillos, chili and cumin. Stir well, cover and cook, stirring once or twice, until the tomatillos are soft, about 5 minutes.

Transfer the tomatillo mixture to a blender or food processor and add the pumpkin seeds, stock, cilantro and parsley. Process until smooth. Season with salt and pepper. Divide among individual dipping bowls.

To make the marinade, in a large nonaluminum bowl, whisk together the lime juice, hot-pepper sauce, molasses and canola oil. Cut the fish fillets into horizontal slices 3/4 inch thick and then into 2-by-4-inch pieces. Add the fish pieces to the marinade, turn to coat and let stand for 5 minutes. Thread the fish onto the skewers, dividing the pieces evenly among them.

Place the skewers on the grill over direct heat and cook, turning once, until browned on the outside and opaque throughout, about 5 minutes total.

Transfer the skewers to a warmed platter or individual plates. Serve with the dipping sauce alongside. Serves 4.

Variation Tip: Shrimp or thinly sliced shark or swordfish can be used in place of the mahimahi. To cook on the stovetop, use a preheated grill pan over high heat.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Collection Series, Fish, by Shirley King (Simon & Schuster, 2002).