In 60 days, my name will change.
I’ll officially be a part of a “we” instead of just “me.”
I’ll wear a lovely dress, add a little more sparkle to my hand, drink my favorite bubbly, eat four kinds of cake, and dance to some classic love songs.
I’ll be surrounded by all of the people I love in this world… but I’ll be focused on one very handsome mountain man.
My wedding is in two months, you guys. It’s close! It’s both exhilarating and terrifying. I have so many sit-ups to do. But you know I love a good party, and you also know how much I love my fiancé. We are a great team.
Take last night, for example. We bustled around the kitchen, sipping wine and getting creative. Together, we made some culinary magic for Meatless Monday: pan-seared Ono with a spicy mango-ginger sauce, served with roasted fingerling potatoes and an arugula parmesan salad.
I’d recently seen a cooking show that included a fish dish with a mango sauce. It seemed a little on the sweet side for my taste, so I poked around the internet and got some ideas.
After scribbling down a few notes, I did what I rarely do in the kitchen (but want to do more!): I winged it.
I started out with great, fresh ingredients. Good food starts with good ingredients!
(The rice vinegar actually didn’t make an appearance in the final show, but wanted to be a part of the cast photo. I gave in. Pretend you didn’t see it.)
I chopped up the stuff that needed chopping- ginger, garlic, japaleno. I chose the mini food processor for this party, mostly because my blender doesn’t work very well. My faithful kitchen assistant was poised and ready for any necessary floor cleaning. (Side: It is confirmed that she does not care for fresh ginger.)
In you go! Some mango, the ginger, garlic, some orange juice, and a little bit of lime juice. I put in some of the jalapeno, too, keeping some aside in case I wanted more SPICE after some time on the stove.
I tossed in a healthy pinch of salt and some fresh cracked pepper and let the sauce simmer for a little bit to reduce. Taste test: it was already pretty good!
While Phase One did its thing on the stove top, I whirred together the cilantro, the rest of the jalapeno, more lime juice and a little bit more OJ. My plan was to stir this fresh mixture into the reduced sauce to add brightness and more heat. My first taste indicated that the hotsie-totsie jalapeno was winning, so I threw in some more mango.
Here’s where it gets good, you guys. I turned the heat off under the sauce pan and stirred in a few chunks of butter. I wanted it to go from a sweet fruity blend to a SAUCE. Such a good call.
I wanted the sauce to cool down a little bit before I added the fresh cilantro mixture. John had fish to prep, too. A beautiful sky lured me outside, where I met a new daisy.
Back inside, it was Chef John’s turn. He turned two thick Ono fillets in a light coating of flour, salt, pepper, and herbs before searing them in a pan on high heat.
We tossed some chopped fingerling potatoes in olive oil and spices, and roasted them with a bit of butter for awhile. After the fish was seared on both sides, the pan of Ono went into the oven to finish cooking. I stirred the cilantro/jalapeno mixture into the mango sauce, and adjusted the salt and pepper seasoning.
ONO? Oh, YES. (har har har…)
The fish was delish on its own, but the mango sauce made it incredible. The sauce was sweet, buttery, and spicy- but not too hot! It had a slow heat, which is really the best kind. We kept spooning more sauce onto our plates, dipping the potatoes in it. SO GOOD.
We ate Ono until we had no more room left for dessert. But we did have some spicy mango-ginger sauce left. I can’t wait to try it on… well, anything. John and I congratulated ourselves on an awesome dinner.
We make such a good team.
*Spicy Mango-Ginger Sauce with Cilantro*
(quantities listed are “to taste,” based on how tart the mango is)
- 1 ½ – 2 cups mango chunks
- 2-inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and minced
- ½ cup of orange juice
- 2 large garlic cloves, chopped
- 3 tablespoons of butter
- Juice of one lime
- 1 small jalapeno, sliced (keep the seeds for heat!)
- A handful of cilantro leaves, chopped
- Salt and pepper to taste
In a food processor, blend all but ¼ cup of the mango, ½ of the jalapeno, all of the ginger, the orange juice, and the garlic. Transfer to a small sauce pot and simmer on the stove for 15 minutes, stirring regularly. Turn off the heat, add the butter, and stir until melted. Let cool for a few minutes.
In the food processor, blend the remaining jalapeno, the cilantro, and the lime juice. Stir into the mango mixture. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve over grilled fish, steak, or chicken or use as a dipping sauce. Or eat it with a spoon. It’s GOOD.
(Note: I kept the seeds in the jalapeno for heat- we like it spicy. Add more mango if it’s too hot. I used frozen mango chunks because that’s what I had, but fresh is always better. The OJ and lime juice mellow out the tartness of the sweet mango. Don’t leave out the butter if you know what’s good for you.)