Another dish that we learned to make during our cooking lesson at the Jean Georges Restaurant Lagoon was the grilled mahi mahi with sesame vinaigrette and crunchy salad. I was surprised they would spend the time to teach us how to make a dish with three separate parts, but they did!
While the samosa filling was cooling, we got to work on the sesame vinaigrette. Tip from the chef: add the sesame seeds while they are hot. It makes all the difference. Here is the mise en place for the vinaigrette:
They used a variety of oils as well as mustard, rice vinegar, lime juice, thai chili, and soy. We actually used a Vita-Mix to make the vinaigrette, which is amazing because I knew we had one waiting for us in Philly and would be able to exactly replicate this.
This part only took about 5 minutes. While we whisked the other ingredients Maxim toasted the sesame seeds, then it was all added together in the blender before slowly incorporating the oils. I know I have already said it but I was so impressed by not only their professionalism, but their willingness to share every trick and secret with us. They really wanted us to learn! The next item on the list?? Segmenting the limes! We all know how hard it is to segment citrus fruits, but we learned that with the right paring knife and technique it wouldn’t be so hard. Look, we did these!
Franck teaching us how:
We then made the crunchy salad. It amazed me that all of these small and simple steps resulted in such a beautiful presentation and taste, but they did. We cut aunch of different vegetables to the same size and then put them aside until right before it was time to eat. As we didn’t have all of the right veggies, the chefs made some substitutions. I was surprised by the amount of fresh ginger we used, but it went perfectly and added just the right amount of spiciness to the final dish. We used red pepper, french beans (blanched), 7 small radishes, a bit of blanched asparagus, and a 2 inch piece of fresh ginger.
Fresh ginger, which I only starting liking on this trip:
Preparing the mise en place:
All our little bowls of hard work:
By this time Franck and Maxim had poured us some delicious wine and I was losing my focus. Even though I had probably had 5 croissants for breakfast, it just wasn’t cutting it! I was tipsy, and I think PB was too. It just made the whole experience more fun though! It was time to season the fish, grill it, and assemble our meal. We actually had nothing to do with the fish and just watched!
Seasoned with salt, pepper, and a lot of olive oil. I was afraid that restaurants used a lot of oil to season fish/meat/chicken, and if this example is anything like normal restaurants, I was right:
They cranked the grill up to high and waited for it to get hot before adding the mahi mahi:
They also finished the mahi mahi in the oven while we prepared the crunchy salad. That is something I never would have thought to do before. Maxim let me feel the fish when it was done to know how soft/hard it should feel. Now I know!
A surprise ingredient in the crunchy salad? LAVENDER! They added some lavender flower to it, and it added not only a gorgeous fragrance but a very interesting taste!
To assemble the dish, Mr. & Mrs. Newly Married Drunks sat in their chairs and drank wine. Franck and Maxim put some of the sesame vinaigrette on the dish, topped with the fish, then with the lime segments, and finally with the crunchy salad. Beautiful!
It was really a memorable experience…. and this isn’t even the end of it!