Monday, January 22, 2007

Tomato Wars Kings Mahi Mahi for the Weekend

War might be an overstatement, but the restaurant GM is looking for ways to cut expenses, without compromising quality. Here's the dilemma for our red sauce we use an imported Italian San Marzano canned tomato. It is mostly used for a cavatelli side dish-not an entree-which is an option for most entrees so it's not a revenue generator. It is a quickly cooked sauce with olive oil, garlic slices, and fresh basil it is a light and delicious red sauce compared to the glop you usually get. But can it be made with a cheaper domestic canned tomato?

So in America's Test Kitchen style, we made two batches one with the San Marzano, one with a lesser canned tomato. We presented both dishes to the owner who is the ultimate "Decider" and he picked the San Marzano immeadiatly-so the quality product wins out. But the fact remains that it is only a side dish-how do you justifuy the expense? I don't want you to think I'm a spendthrift chef-last year's food cost averaged 30% for the entire year-but I do buy really expensive cheeses, meats, and fish-and canned tomatoes. I just don't think you can compromise in some areas.

So in restored respect for our humble red, I sauced the Mahi Mahi with it for a beautiful weekend special. The Mahi is in season right now and was actually very reasonable. I simply sauteed the Mahi fillet and swished some pesto across the top to punch it up a bit. I should have saved some of the Basil for garnish, but it all went into the pesto. The Mahi was fantastic, but in retrospect I would have preferred to grill it, but our grill man is hit so hard on Saturdays I try to throw specials to saute.


Brilynn said...

I would so love a plate of that...

wheresmymind said...

That's awesome that you tried a couple different recipes :)