Macadamia Crusted Fresh Catch with Tropical Butter Sauce

FullSizeRender-5 There are some icons of modern Hawaiian cuisine on Maui, one of these being Chef Bev Gannon of Hali maile General Store. I was perusing for an island inspired way to prepare fish, and happened upon her Macadamia Crusted Fresh Catch with Mango-Passionfruit Sauce.  Check out how I adapted this recipe to meet my needs, and to ingredients available in most grocery stores back home.

 FullSizeRender-6A stop at this local Farmers Stand yielded the mango I was looking for, but I learned that passion fruit was not in season at the moment. They suggested using lychee as an option, which luckily are available, canned, in the Asian food aisle of most larger grocery stores. For the fresh catch, I used mahi mahi, but any white fish would do, sea bass, halibut or even tilapia. You just need to adjust the oven finishing time to account for the thickness of the fish. Nestled in its velvety, rich fruit sauce, the fish is meant to be the centerpiece of this tropical meal, but the purple yams certainly do their best at trying to steal the show. I just couldn’t get over how vibrantly purple they were once they were cooked! Regular yams or sweet potatoes would be a readily available substitute.

Macadamia Crusted Fresh Catch with Tropical Butter Sauce

Serving Size: 4 servings


    Tropical Fruit Sauce
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest (original recipe calls for lemongrass, so use either)
  • 1 teaspoon peeled minced fresh ginger
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1 mango peeled and pureed
  • 8 ounces seedless whole lychee, drained and pureed
  • 1/2 cup cold unsalted butter cut into pieces
  • salt and freshly ground white pepper to taste
    Coating for Fish
  • 1 1/2 cups lightly toasted macadamia nuts (I bought dry roasted nuts to bypass the toasting step)
  • 1 1/2 cups panko (Japanese bread crumbs)
  • 1 cup fresh basil leaves (I used 1 tablespoon dried basil)
  • 4 fresh fish fillets about 6 ounces each
    Mayonnaise Dressing
  • 2 cups mayo
  • 1 tablespoon Sambal (or use Sriracha hot sauce to taste, starting with smaller amount and adding up to 1 tablespoon)


    For the Sauce
  • In a saucepan combine wine, lemon zest (or lemon grass) and ginger. Simmer over medium heat for about 5 minutes or until almost all liquid is gone. Add the cream, mix well and remove from heat. Pour into blender and blend until smooth. Return to saucepan, add the fruit puree and simmer over low heat for 8 minutes. Note - I recommend getting everything else ready and then finishing the butter sauce during the last few minutes when the fish is in the oven. To finish the sauce, add the cold butter pieces one at a time, and stir until incorporated before adding the next piece. Be careful not to boil or else the sauce will separate. Season with salt and pepper.
    For the Fish Coating
  • To prepare the coating, place the nuts, panko and basil in a food processor and process until fine. Spread on a plate.
    For the Dressing
  • In a bowl, combine the mayo and Sambal or Sriracha and mix well. Lightly season the fish with salt and pepper. Evenly spread a light coat of dressing on each side of fillet. Coat evenly with crumb mixture.
  • Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
  • In an oven proof saute pan (or you can transfer to a baking dish after browning), pour in just enough oil to coat bottom and heat to medium (be carefully not to get the pan too hot or the nuts will burn.) Add the fish and saute for 3 minutes, until golden brown. Turn the fish and place pan into oven (or transfer to baking dish) until cooked through. The original recipe called for 5 minutes in the oven which must have been for a thin fillet. The mahi mahi I used was 1 inch thick and required 20 minutes. Fish should be firm to the touch when done.
  • Place fillets on plates and serve with sauce.
  • I served the fish with mashed yams and steamed green beans.

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