Thursday, February 28, 2013

Macadamia Crusted Mahimahi

Macadamia Crusted Mahimahi

Mahimahi is the Hawaiian name by which this mild, sweet fish is most commonly known. Before air travel to the islands became affordable for the average Joe, the version of this seafood delight we would have experienced stateside would have been called saltwater Dorado. Although most of the eastern United States still gets fresh Coryphaena hippurus from South American waters, we now call it by its more “romantic” Hawaiian name.

By whatever name you choose to use, this amazing fish is always a hit. The flavor is delicate so the use of seasoning must be frugal to avoid overpowering the fish. However the flesh is firm, so it responds perfectly with any cooking method you could choose.

As tribute to the South Pacific name, I’ve chosen to enhance the gentle essence of my Mahimahi with a couple of other Hawaiian favorites. This is a favorite in our house, I’m sure it will become one in yours too.

Macadamia Crusted Mahimahi
Servings: 4     Preparation Time: 20 Minutes     Cooking Time: 6 Minutes


• ¼ Cup Sweetened Shredded Coconut
• ½ Cup Dry Roasted Macadamia Nuts, chopped
• ¼ Pound Unsalted Butter
• 1 Tablespoon Dry White Wine
• ½ Cup All-Purpose Flour
• 2 Eggs, beaten
• 1 Cup Panko Bread Crumbs
• 4 Mahimahi Filets, skin removed, about ½ pound each.
• Kosher Salt
• Freshly Ground Black Pepper
• Canola Oil

Preparation Steps

Step 1. Toast the Coconut in a small fry pan over low heat stirring often to prevent burning. When the shreds just begin to brown slightly, transfer the Coconut to a small bowl to cool.

Step 2. Add ¼ cup of the chopped Macadamia Nuts to the same pan and toast, stirring until you can just catch the slightest scent of the nuts. Remove nuts to another small bowl.

Step 3. Carefully wipe out the hot pan with a dry paper towel and return to the heat and add the butter. Once the butter has completely melted, increase the heat and stir constantly until the milk solids begin to turn a light brown. Remove from the heat and carefully add the teaspoon of White Wine. Stir and set to the side.

Step 4. In a food processor, combine the Panko and the remaining ¼ cup of chopped Macadamia Nuts and pulse until the Panko is ground but not powdered.

Step 5. Pat the Mahimahi dry and lightly season all sides with Kosher Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper.

Step 6. Set a large fry pan over medium heat and add enough Canola Oil to keep the bottom of the pan coated.

Step 7. Dredge the fish in the Flour and shake gently to remove the excess. Dip the filets in the beaten Egg to coat and then into the ground Panko / Macadamia Nut mixture to cover all sides.

Step 8. When the oil is hot, carefully add the Mahimahi and cook for 3 minutes without disturbing. Reduce the heat to low and then turn the filets over and cook for another 3 minutes. If the filets are thick, turn them on each side for about 30 seconds per side just to seal the crust and lightly color the Panko. Remove to a paper towel to drain any excess oil.

Place the Mahimahi on the serving plate and drizzle a tablespoon of the Brown Butter from one end of the filet to the other. Sprinkle a line of the toasted Coconut from end to end and do the same with the toasted Macadamia Nuts. Drizzle a second tablespoon of the Brown Butter over all, allowing some to run down the sides of the filet and pool on the plate.

Macadamia Crusted Mahimahi

Tips and Trending

~ This is great served with Pan Roasted Red Skin Potatoes and any sautéed greens.

~ You can use unsweetened coconut if you prefer, the natural sugar will be intensified when toasted.

~ Panko is quite bland alone, but the salt in the dry roasted Macadamia Nuts ground with the Panko provides just the right amount of seasoning.

~ When seasoning the Mahimahi with the salt and pepper, I use just a pinch of salt and only a couple of grinds of pepper per side of the filets.

~ When you dredge any protein in flour always start by patting it dry. Then after the flour is applied move quickly to the next step in the process. Whether it’s dipping in egg and then crumbs or right into hot fat, never let the flour get damp from the inside out. You’ll end up with a messy paste instead of a crispy crust.

~ Make sure your pan is large enough to accommodate the filets without crowding. Not only does a crowded fry pan make maneuvering difficult, it lowers the temperature of the fat so your food will not cook properly. Keep at least 1½” between any two items in the pan. If that is not possible, cook in batches.

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