Mahi-Mahi with Orange Scented Beurre Blanc Sauce

Mahi-Mahi with Orange Scented Beurre Blanc

  • Servings: 2
  • Difficulty: medium-hard
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  • 2 pieces mahi-mahi, or other white fish
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • 2 Tbsps white wine vinegar
  • 1/2 shallots, chopped fine
  • 1/2 cup cold butter, cut into small pieces +1/2 Tbsp butter to cook fish
  • 1/4 cup fresh orange juice
  • 1/4 tsp orange blossom water
  • Salt and white pepper, to taste


Two options for cooking fish: 1) Set sous-vide machine to 53.5ºC/128ºF, cook fish in water for 30-60 minutes. Sear on either side in a pan with butter after removed from water. 2) Cook fish in buttered pan, flipping halfway through, until internal temperature of fish reaches desired level of doneness. Place shallots, wine, and vinegar in a pot and place over medium-high heat. Allow them to boil down until almost no liquid remains. Turn heat down to low. Start adding the cold butter in small increments, whisking constantly between adds. Just before the last few pieces of butter, remove from heat, add last pieces of butter and whisk until smooth. Add orange juice and orange blossom water. Salt and pepper to taste. Strain sauce. Plate fish, top with sauce. Serve.

And now for the details…

Day 5 of the 14 day quarantine challenge, and I’m going a bit “fancier” here with fish and a beurre blanc sauce. We have mahi-mahi in the freezer that we bought out of the back of some guy’s truck (no lie) a couple months ago and figured we should try to use it up! I have been wanting to try out my Christmas gift, a sous vide, on fish. But I knew that if I was going to do that, it would need some kind of sauce, or it would be pretty bland. I was thinking about sauces that I’ve tried in the past, but most are roux-based and are a little too thick/robust with a fish like mahi-mahi. Why not a beurre blanc?

Beurre blanc directly translates to “white butter”, which is very appropriate, since the sauce is basically melted, emulsified butter with some flavour. Don’t be discouraged by the “medium-hard” rating I have given this recipe. It is not too hard to do, but you do need to be able to give the sauce your undivided attention while cooking it.

For the sauce in this recipe, I decided to flavour it with some fresh orange juice, and I used some orange blossom water. Orange blossom water can be found in your grocery store where you would find other middle-eastern ingredients, or in some specialty stores. It had a glorious smell to it, and when you aren’t using it for sauce flavouring, it is a great flavour addition to sparkling water, desserts, or cocktails.

I chose the orange ingredients as a hat tip to Spain. We evacuated very quickly from what we had thought would be the trip of a lifetime… and while we were sad to leave, and stressed to get home, we left behind a country that is still struggling to combat the outbreak, and is now the second largest outbreak in Europe, after Italy. For a country that I had read about being so gregarious, generous, and tactile, I cannot even begin to imagine how this would affect day-to-day life. A particular moment struck me as we were seeking to make it home. We were on our way to the airport and needed to take the train. We were walking through the abandoned streets to get to the train station, and that’s when the moment hit. When I had been planning our vacation, I was so hoping we would get to see and smell orange trees in bloom while we were vacationing. And there were the trees: planted just outside the train station. They were in full bloom, with some full grown, bright orange fruits sitting in the boughs. The smell was intoxicating. The moment was a calm, joyous moment amidst chaos for me, and reflecting on it, I am holding on to hope. Hope for this confusing, scary time to pass us by. Hope for the countries so heavily affected to be able to achieve the supports they need. Hope for life to return to to a level of normalcy.

Sorry for the emotional divergence… and thanks for humouring my verboseness.

Let’s move on to cooking, shall we?

We start with the fish for this one. I used my sous vide for the fish, and if you are going to cook the fish this way, set your sous vide machine in the water and set the temperature to 53.5ºC/128ºF and let it heat up. Add the fish (in plastic) into the water and let it cook for 30-60 minutes. If you are able, salt and pepper the fish before adding to your bag, but ours was already vacuum sealed, so I actually just cooked the fish right in its package, no flavour added. If you are cooking the fish without a sous vide, we will wait until the sauce is mostly ready, and cook the fish just before serving.

Next, we will get ready for our sauce. If you are sous vide’ing the fish, wait to start the sauce until just when the fish is done.

Before we begin cooking the sauce, remove the butter from the fridge, and cut it into small chunks (~3/8″ or 1cm pieces), and place the butter back in the fridge to stay good and cold.

Chop the shallots finely, and add them to a pot with the white wine and white wine vinegar. Put the pot over medium-high heat, and allow the mixture to heat up to a boil and reduce, about 8 minutes, until there is almost no liquid left in the pot.

Turn the temperature down to low, and take the butter out of the fridge. Now is where we will start adding the butter in small increments, which will form up your sauce.

Using a large wire whisk, whisk constantly as you add in the butter pieces, a few at a time. Let the previous pieces almost fully mix/melt before adding the next few pieces.

Continue this until you have only 3-4 pieces of butter left. Then, remove the pot from the heat, and whisk in the last few pieces of butter. Squeeze the 1/4 orange into the sauce, and the orange blossom water, whisking them both into the sauce.

Strain the sauce to remove the shallot pieces, and set the sauce aside.

Finally, the fish. If you are cooking in a pan, salt and pepper the fish on either side. Heat the 1/2 Tbsp of butter in a pan, and cook the fish on medium-high heat, flipping halfway, until the interior of your fish reaches your desires level of doneness. If you sous vide’ed your fish, do a quick flash-fry in the pan with butter on high heat to get a little brown sear on the fish pieces.

Finally, plate your fish, drizzle the sauce on top, and garnish with some fresh parsley. Serve immediately.

Happy eating.

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