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What to Eat Wednesday - Reverse Engineering

Dana here.  Lemme cut right to the chase.
  1. Remy's Wine Bar in St. Louis is amazing
  2. You should totally go there if you're ever in the neighborhood
  3. The Bronzed Mahi is magical
  4. I need it in my life as often as I please
I have issues with being dependent on other people.  I think that's part of the reason why I will usually attempt to replicate those foods I love, self-reliance and all that.  Also, it's delicious!  I will not be held back!  And this is where things get weird.

Was I that lunatic in the restaurant taking way too many pictures of my food?  Yes, yes I was.  I mean, we had a little to go on from the description (French lentils, Mahi, and shrimp), but that was barely a starting point, so I started to take notes!

So these were my initial observations.  Basically, I was trying to get the framework down.  There was a lot of talk between the hubs and me as to what we thought we were actually tasting, so some of these items were changed in the end.  Oh, and that note about Chardonnay?  Yeah, that's what I was drinking.  A flight of them actually.  I don't remember why I wrote that down other than the fact that I was really enjoying it.  And now, to the final result!

Dana's Braised Mahi
(Copycat of Remy's Wine Bar's Bronzed Mahi)
  • 1 Onion, diced
  • 1 Tin of diced tomatoes or 6 oz can of tomato paste
  • 1 cup of French green lentils
  • A couple turns of olive oil in sauce pan/pot
  • 1 tsp celery salt
    • Alternatively, 1 stalk of celery
    • And 1 tsp of salt
  • 3 heaping tsp Smoked Paprika
  • 3 heaping tsp Cumin
  • 2 large cloves Garlic, diced small
  • Splash of red wine, if desired
  • 2 5oz Mahi Mahi fillets (defrosted)
  • 1/4 Cup shredded or diced carrots
  • 1 tsp Thyme
  • 2 1/2 cups of chicken broth
Sauté onion (and celery, if used) in oil with salt.  You want the onions to get all golden brown and delicious.  If necessary, add splashes of water along the way to avoid burning the onions.

Meanwhile, in a wide bowl, mix the paprika and cumin and make it into a bed for the fish fillets.  Place the fillets in the bed and rub all sides with the spices.  Let sit to marinate.

Add garlic to browned onions along with a splash of red wine or water to deglaze.  Add carrots, lentils, and tomatoes (or tomato paste) to sauté.  Also stir in thyme and broth at this time.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat, cover and let simmer for 15-20 minutes until lentils are firm-tender.

With the pot off the heat, gently place Mahi fillets on top of the lentil mix.  Pour the extra spices from the bowl into the lentils and carefully stir around the fish.  Place the pot back onto the heat, cover, and let fillets cook for 4 minutes on one side.  Uncover, flip fillets, and cook the other side for 2 minutes until done.

Serve with delicious wine.

*Alternatively, you can just mix all your spices into the lentils with the thyme and broth and then pan fry your fillets in a little oil, butter, cumin, and paprika.  Just a few minutes on either side.  This will give your fish a crispy exterior.

So here's the lineup.  A few notes...
  • Why do I specifically say French green lentils?  Because they hold it together!  I'm serious.  If you've ever cooked with red or brown lentils, you know what I mean.  They're great, but they fall apart after five minutes in water.
  • Buy smoked paprika.  That was one of the defining characteristics of this dish: smoky and meaty and big
  • What's up with the celery and carrot options?  Does it matter which I choose?  Nope.  I just used what I had on hand.

The lentils we made were spot on!  Bursting with smoky paprika and meaty cumin and chock full of delicious veg.  Honestly, these make a great meal all on their own.  You could even make it vegetarian by using vegetable broth.

I have to admit, fish is not my strong suit.  I can do salmon, but only just barely.  Thankfully, braising is a pretty gentle and quick cooking method.  The Mahi was good, but lacked that really nice, crisp exterior.  I suspect Remy's did theirs on a grill, which I do not have.


And pictured here is the first and second attempts (at fish anyway).  The second is a pan fried tilapia, which the hubs made because he is way better at that than I.  So amazing both times.  Oh!  You know, you could do this with chicken thighs as well!

I feel really proud of this.  Like, super proud.  Is it exactly the same as Remy's?  No.  Would I get Remy's version again?  Heck yes!  Try this and enjoy!

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