We’re supposed to be stewing and braising and roasting everything now. But Mother Nature is having a hot flash, and it’s 81 degrees F. In mid-October. So, we’ll save the apples and pumpkins and gingerbread for another day. A day when it’s chilly enough to wear something with sleeves. In the meantime, we’re taking advantage of this perfect grilling weather.

Jeff had to work late on his birthday, so we postponed his birthday dinner, which became more elaborate with each passing day. Not just baked potatoes but Loaded Baked Potatoes. Not just steak but a nice, prime cut. No, Surf and Turf! And not just any “Surf,” but Barbecued Mahi-mahi with Yellow Pepper-Cilantro Pesto.

It was time to MAKE this meal before it got any more Caligulicious.

We weren’t seafood people until we honeymooned in Hawaii and tried the amazing fish: buttery waloo, fish and chips made with ono, fresh ahi. I didn’t think we’d be able to find this fish locally until we made a trip to the butcher for Jeff’s birthday steaks and noticed the fully stocked seafood case in the corner. There were the usual suspects – salmon, scallops, catfish, tilapia – and … mahi-mahi?

Mahi-mahi!

Both of us love big flavors, so we settled on this recipe for Barbecued Mahi-mahi with Yellow Pepper-Cilantro Pesto. The smokey rub – which includes Spanish paprika, ancho chile powder, cumin and chile de arbol powder – and the bright pesto make for a lightning-quick, delicious entrée that takes less than 10 minutes on the grill.

So, yes, Jeff got his Surf and Turf. But I stopped short of the parade and the dancing girls. He’s got to have something to look forward to next year.

Barbecued Mahi-mahi with Yellow Pepper-Cilantro Pesto

From Bobby Flay on “BBQ with Bobby Flay” (Food Network)

    Yellow Pepper-Cilantro Pesto:

  • 2 large yellow bell peppers, grilled, peeled, seeded and chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons pine nuts
  • 1 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves
  • 3 tablespoons grated Parmesan
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated pepper
    “Barbecue” Rub:

  • 2 tablespoons Spanish paprika
  • 1 tablespoon ancho chile powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons dark brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon chile de arbol powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
    Mahi-mahi:

  • 4 Mahi-mahi fillets, 8 ounces each
  • 4 teaspoons olive oil
  • Cilantro leaves
  1. For the Pesto: Place peppers, garlic, pine nuts, cilantro and cheese in a food processor. Process until combined. With the motor running, add the oil and process until emulsified. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
  2. For the Barbecue Rub: Combine all the rub ingredients in a small bowl.
  3. For the Fish: Heat grill to high. Brush each fillet on both sides with oil. Rub 1 side of each fillet with 1 tablespoon of the Barbecue Rub, and place on the grill, rub-side down. Cook until slightly charred and a crust has formed, about 2 to 3 minutes.
  4. Turn the fish over, and grill for 3 to 4 minutes longer, or until cooked to medium doneness. Top each fillet with a few tablespoons of the pesto and garnish with cilantro leaves.