Mahi Mahi Wrapped in Pancetta with Polenta Chips

Serve up a truly splendid fish dish with Maria Elia's creative recipe for mahi mahi, served with polenta and spinach
By Maria Elia
Mahi Mahi Wrapped in Pancetta with Polenta Chips
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 4
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes plus 1 hr setting and chilling
  • Effort: medium



  • 4 mahi mahi fish fillets, each 160g, skinned
  • black pepper
  • 12 slices smoked pancetta
  • 1 tbsp olive oil

For the rosemary and butternut squash polenta:

  • 1.5 ltr water
  • 3 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp chopped rosemary
  • 200 g butternut squash, thinly diced
  • 250 g quick-cook polenta
  • black pepper
  • vegetable oil, for deep-frying
  • plain flour, for dusting
  • 200 g finely grated parmesan

For the spinach:

  • 1 knob of butter
  • 50 g fresh spinach
  • black pepper

To serve:

  • garlic mayonnaise
  • 4 sprigs rosemary, to garnish


1. Prepare the polenta at least 2 hours before you cook the mahi mahi. Bring the water and salt to the boil in a large saucepan.

2. Add the butternut squash and rosemary. Reduce the temperature so that the water simmers gently.

3. Slowly whisk in the polenta. Cook, stirring often, for 3 minutes. Season generously with salt and freshly ground pepper.

4. Pour the polenta into a greased roasting tray about 1 and a half cm deep. Set aside to cool, then refrigerate until cold and firm, around 1 hour.

5. Turn the polenta out onto a chopping board and cut into 24 chips, each approx 8cm by 2cm.

6. Season the mahi mahi fillets with salt and freshly ground pepper.

7. Take 3 slices of pancetta and lay on a chopping board, each slice just slightly overlapping one another. Place a mahi mahi fillet on the pancetta and roll up over the fish.

8. Repeat the process making four pancetta-wrapped fillets.

9. Preheat the oven to 180ºC/gas 4.

10. Preheat a large, heavy-based frying pan. Add the olive oil and heat through. Add the fish parcels and wrap gently, lightly browning on each side.

11. Transfer the fish to a roasting tray and roast for 6 minutes.

12. Meanwhile, preheat the vegetable oil in a deep fat fryer to 175ºC. Lightly dust the polenta chips with flour. Deep-fry until golden, around 3 minutes.

13. Shake off excess oil and place the chips in a large mixing bowl. Sprinkle at once with the grated Parmesan.

14. Meanwhile, melt the butter in a large heavy-based saucepan. Add the spinach, cover and cook for 2-3 minutes until wilted. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper. Drain slightly on a tea towel.

15. To serve, make a tower of polenta chips on four warm serving plates. Place a sprig of rosemary on the centre of each tower. Place the fish alongside together with the spinach and a dollop of aioli.

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