Mahi Mahi with Spicy Thai Chili Mango Sauce and a Lesson Well Learned
Making this mahi mahi with spicy Thai chili mango sauce recipe didn't have me dreaming of tropical beaches, or some exotic outdoor market in southeast Asia. No, it reminded me of getting yelled at in the back of some dingy prep kitchen, a very long time ago.
I was given a recipe to make by an old French chef for a tomato pasta sauce. The first step was sweating a finely minced mirepoix in some olive oil. Since it was a fairly large batch, I decided to use the food processor to mince the carrots, celery and onions. Le chef was not le happy.
After teaching me a few new, colorful French phrases, he explained that while a mechanically minced mirepoix may look similar to a hand minced one, they were very different. He told me when you use a food processor, the vegetables are torn into tiny pieces, as opposed to being cleanly cut.
There is way more damage done to the cellular structure, and depending on the ingredient, that can create a noticeably different taste and texture than using a sharp knife and a little elbow grease, or as I believe it's called in France, elbow butter.
Anyway, this mango sauce is an example of how much I took that lesson to heart. For all I know that culinary theory has been debunked by Alton Brown, or some other food wonk a long time ago, but I don't care. I'll always believe my spicy mango sauce tastes better because I cut it by hand. Thanks chef! Enjoy.