Saturday, January 15, 2011

Macadamia Nut Crusted Mahi Mahi - with a coconut touch!

Whole Foods has this great section of frozen fish, but not only that, the fish consists of the perfect size fillets all vacuum packed and frozen, which can then be defrosted and ready in an hour.  So, really, its such an easy way to have fish quickly and easily!

On Thursday morning I took two fillets of mahi mahi out of the freezer and into the fridge - a slow way to ensure they will be ready for dinner!  That left one goal for work that day: find a fun way to dress up the fillets.  In my searching I found this great looking Macadamia Nut Crusted Mahi Mahi by Alton Brown.  I am a huge fan of macadamia nuts so I was sold.  Even better was that some of the reviews suggested adding coconut flakes to the crust, which made the whole thing seem even better.

The necessities....
  • 5 ounces (about 1 1/4 cups) coarsely ground, roasted macadamia nuts
  • 1/2 cup panko (Japanese-style bread crumbs)
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • Vegetable oil, for brushing foil
  • 4 (6 to 8-ounce) mahi mahi fillets
  • Kosher salt and pepper
  • 2 tablespoons coconut milk
The Ingredients
Before I could even start, I actually had to separate the macadamia nuts from cashews - all I could find at the store was a combo package.  Then I hit roadblock number 2 - how to coarsely grind the macadamia nuts.  I gave my coffee grinder a try, but the results were a partial macadamia nut butter.  So maybe not the best idea on such a soft nut.  My next idea was to use my pastry blender, which worked a lot better.  However, this did not grind the nuts small enough, but I figured "oh well, good enough!"

Okay, I was ready to get started.  I combined the "coarsely ground" macadamia nuts, panko, flour and melted butter together.  Instead of using all 1/2 cup of panko, I actually only used about 2/3 of that amount and then topped the rest off with coconut flakes.  Then, because I did not read through the instructions fully I added the coconut milk as well (lesson learned: always read the recipe all the way through first!).  I mixed it all together then set aside for later.

Close up of the crust batter
Then I remembered that rice takes a good amount of time to cook, so I started cooking the jasmine rice and hoped it would be ready with the fish!

My next step was to line a baking sheet with tin foil and cover it generously with vegetable oil.  I placed the fish on the foil, generously salted and peppered them, and put them in a 425 degree oven for 5 minutes.  Then I brushed the coconut milk on the fish fillets (where is should have been in the first place!).  Then I took the crust batter and covered the tops of each of the fillets and returned them to the oven for another 5 to 10 minutes.

Cooking away in the oven
You know when they are done when the crust turns a nice golden brown color.

Nicely toasted
I then turned my attention to the green beans.  I sauteed them in a pan with olive oil, salt and minced garlic.

Sauteing green beans
Finally, when everything came together, I fluffed the rice and made sure the fish was cooked all the way through - I always worry with fish - and plated away.

Attempt at plating well
My crust was a bit thicker than what the recipe called for, but I love coconut so I wanted to go for it!  This fish came out so well - I was actually surprised at HOW well.  The extra coconut flakes and milk in the crust really added to the flavor.  When I use coconut in a dish, I really want to taste it in the final product, I want more than a hint of it.  This fish definately had a great coconut flavor.  The crust also kept the fish really moist and tasty.  To me, there is nothing worse than having dried out fish!  The jasmine rice was a nice complement in flavors to the crust.  It was keeping in the same theme as the crust.  Since I love sauted green beans, they go with everything to me, so of course it fit on my plate.

This recipe is something I would do again, especially since these mahi mahi fillets are so easy to have on hand and defrost in a hurry (about an hour at room temperature).  Highly recommend!

1 comment:

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