We are definitely carnivores around here, and while we love a juicy slab of red meat, changing it up is a good thing as well. A goal this year is to cook with more fish and seafood, and when Whole Foods approached us about working with a new to us fish, the Paiche, we jumped on the challenge. What was this mystery fish called the Paiche (pronounced pie-chay)?
Come to find out the Paiche is quickly becoming the trendy white fish and it is Amazonian. It is comparable in flavor and texture to sea bass and halibut, the great news is that it is more affordable. The Paiche was so popular in South America that it became overfished and went extinct for some time. Lucky for us and you, Whole Foods is sourcing it from a responsible and trust worthy farming practice, which in turn is putting the fish back on our tables. They are also partnering with their government to help regrow the wild population by providing eggs, so that the fish are raised wild, not farmed and released. The texture of the Paiche is dreamy; lightly buttery in flavor with moist and firm fillets. Besides the outstanding flavor, I loved that the Paiche is raised without pesticides, added hormones or antibiotics, not to mention it is loaded with omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids, and a whopping 20 grams of protein for every 3 1/2 ounces.
Cooking with the Paiche is easy, since the fish is so moist it is really hard to dry out a fillet. The first time I cooked a filet I kept the seasoning simple, a little olive oil, salt and pepper. I wanted to know the true flavors, which were very mild, not fishy with creamy butter flavor. As well the fish has a very clean taste. When I decided to work the Paiche into a recipe, I wanted to stick with mild seasonings as not to overpower the already lovely flavor. I lightly seasoned as I did the first go-around, but this time I added fresh minced Italian parsley and lemon zest. I then seared both sides of the fish before roasting in the oven, which sealed in the delicate flavors and kept the Paiche very moist. As I really wanted the flavors of the fish and lemon to shine, I decided to serve it on top of a bed of garlic potato puree. The creamy potato puree with hints of garlic was the perfect companion to the slightly lemony and buttery paiche.
I am really excited to further work with this fish and have some fresh new ideas that I cannot wait to share on Chez Us. In the meantime, we (along with Whole Foods) would like for you to give Paiche a try, so we are giving away one $25 gift card to one lucky reader to help with the shopping. Simply leave a comment below, sharing a new idea that you have for using Paiche. This give away will continue through mid-night (PST) Friday, January 17, 2014.
Recipe: Roasted Paiche with Garlic Potato Puree
* serves 4
- 1 1/4 pound paiche
- olive oil
- 1 small lemon
- handful italian parsley
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 4 medium yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2″ pieces
- 4 cloves garlic, peeled and lightly smashed
- 1/2 - 1 cup chicken or vegetable stock
- 1 tablespoon olive oil or butter
- kosher salt
- fresh cracked black pepper
- Place the potato pieces and garlic in a large saucepan and cover with cold water. Bring to a medium simmer and cook until very tender; about 25 – 30 minutes. Then drain and set aside.
- Preheat oven to 375.
- Cut the fish into 4 pieces. Pat dry using paper towels, then set aside.
- Zest the lemon and place on a cutting board. Add the parsley to the lemon zest and then finely mince.
- Lightly drizzle a small amount of olive oil over both sides of each piece of fish. Season with a little salt and pepper on both sides.
- Coat each piece of fish with a small amount of the lemon/parsley mixture.
- In a large frying pan heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat. Lightly sear each side of the fish.
- Keep the fish in the frying pan, then slide into the oven. Cook for 15 – 20 minutes, until the fish is opaque in the center.
- While the fish is cooking prepare the potatoes.
- Mash the potatoes with a potato masher.
- Add the butter and chicken stock. I start with 1/2 cup and then move up. When making a potato puree, I tend to want a smoother texture, therefore, I keep adding the stock until the potatoes are ultra creamy.
- Season with salt and pepper.
- Place a small amount of potato on a plate then top with a piece of fish.
Disclosure: Whole Foods supplied the $25 gift card for the giveaway, as well as compensating Chez Us for developing this recipe. As always, all opinions expressed are our own.