Mahi Mahi Pouches with Zucchini and Mint

After being in Washington DC for a week I was definitely ready for some fresh Charleston seafood. We found some beautiful Mahi Mahi filets at a local seafood market. Normally I would do a simple fresh herb rub and throw them on the grill, but alas another Charleston evening thunderstorm was rolling in. Baking fresh fish in parchment paper pouches is a fool proof way to get moist and perfectly cooked fish every single time. The paper browns up on its own, letting you know when your fish is ready. You can put any vegetables or garnishes in the pouch with your fish, infusing it with great flavors and allowing for a whole self contained meal with very little clean up! Perfect for a rainy summer day.

Mahi Mahi Pouches:

  • 4, 1/2 lb Mahi Mahi filets
  • 2 medium Zucchini, grated
  • 2 tbsp red onion, minced
  • 1/2 cup fresh mint, finely chopped
  • 1 lemon, cut into 8 thin rounds
  • 2 tbsp butter, melted
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • 4, 15in x 15in pieces of parchment paper, folded and cut into a heart shape (picture follows!)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Brush melted butter on one half of the heart shaped parchment paper and place one Mahi filet on each one (skin side down if it is still on there) and sprinkle each with salt and pepper. Split Zucchini, Red Onion and Mint among the four filets and spread it on top. Place 2 Lemon rounds on each filet. Drizzle remaining butter over filets to be a little indulgent!

To illustrate the heart shaped parchment!

Fold over heart and roll up edges to create a closed, sealed pouch. The steam staying in is important to cooking it.

Place on cooking sheet and cook for 20-25 minutes, or until parchment is slightly browned. Simply put on a plate, open pouches (be super careful of the hot steam!) and enjoy!

Just to show how lovely and steamy it comes out!

Chicago Style Pizza

Deep Dish or Thin Crust? A debate that has plagued my family for generations. If you ask my Grandpa, a South-Side Chicago native, Thin Crust is king. They have been going to Fox’s Pizza for decades, and anytime I am in Chicago visiting it’s the favorite family meeting spot. With a crispy, thin to the point of non-existent crust, covered in cheese, olives, mushrooms, peppers and sausage it is delightful. I could almost eat a whole family size pizza to myself. But if I close my eyes and think of the pizza of my childhood all I can picture is that thick deep dish, ultra stuffed and ultra cheesey pizza. Sorry Grandpa!

A true deep dish has a thick, crispy, flaky and buttery crust. Next comes the layer of gooey mozzarella cheese, spicy Italian style sausage all covered with stewed tomatoes, fresh basil and a sprinkling of Parmesan. If you are ever in Chicago, Lou Malnati’s is the place to go. One slice is more than enough, but you always eat two or three! The last time I was in town visiting for a week and I had it THREE different times (once for lunch, once as a late night munchy in the hotel and once on the El ride to the airport!). When we got home to Charleston, the Lou Malnati’s withdrawals set in pretty quick, so we went online to get some shipped. It costs a whopping $105 to get one of these masterpieces sent to you! I knew it just wasn’t practical for an addiction like mine so I had to learn how to make one myself. Here’s my best effort to bring a little Chi-Town to your home!

Chicago Style Deep Dish:

  • 1 batch Emeril’s Pizza Dough (I use cornmeal instead of semolina flour, I like it better with the little crunch it adds) Makes 2 Pizzas
  • Olive oil for pan
  • 2 tbsp Melted Butter
  • 4 c. Mozzarella Cheese
  • One package Spicy Italian Sausage, cooked and sliced (I like Turkey Sausage because I can pretend its healthy!)
  • 2 16 oz Cans Stewed Tomatoes, drained
  • 1/3 Cup Chiffonade of Fresh Basil (visual of chiffonade below!)
  • Parmesan Cheese (For sprinkling on top)

Preheat oven to 475. Grease a 9-inch Spring Form Pan with olive oil, sprinkle bottom with cornmeal and shake out excess to give crust an extra crisp. Cut the risen pizza dough in half and roll out on a floured surface to a little larger than pan, transfer into it and press dough about 1 1/2 inches up the sides of pan. Brush dough with melted butter and allow to rest for a couple minutes. You may have to be persistent with pushing it up the sides, the dough can be springy and pull away but with some effort will stay in its position!

Add a layer of half of the mozzarella cheese, evenly distribute the sausage slices, then cover with the remaining cheese. Cover cheese with a single layer of the stewed tomatoes.

Cook in oven for twenty minutes. After twenty minutes, sprinkle the top with the fresh basil and Parmesan, return to oven and cook an additional 20 minutes. Remove from oven, unspring the spring form pan and allow to sit for 5 minutes.

Slice (we like to do just quarters!!) and enjoy!

A Chiffonade is the pretty long thin strips of basil that are really simple to make! Stack basil leaves on top of each other, roll into a tight cylinder and slice width wise through it: