Sunday, September 5, 2010

Sole Baked in Macadamia Nuts Crust--an Accidental Recipe

One day last spring, my next door neighbor knocked on my door with an odd request. He worked as a private chef at that time and asked me if he could bake in my oven a dish for his customer. It was to be a fish and he could not bake it in his kitchen because his very vegetarian family would not stand the smell of fish in their house.

We have been very good friends for many years and I agreed without hesitation, although I must admit that I am not a big fan of the fish smell myself. My friendly gesture, however, outraged my eight years old son, who cannot stand fish and its smell.

Not being a big fan of sea food, I cook only certain types of fish and most often fish fillets. I almost always use a lot of lemon and white wine to neutralize the strong flavor, which can linger in the air for a long time.

Baking fish for my neighbor did not take long and the final result looked pretty appetizing. At the same time, I have learned a new dish, which I later replicated on my own. It turned out to be wonderfully delicate and crunchy at the same time. As far as I can remember, my neighbor used mahi-mahi. I used sole, which is one of my favorite fish, but I suppose any white fish fillet would work with this recipe. Macadamia nuts gave it a special texture as well as the subtle taste. Bread crumbs made it rich enough to be a self-contained but a healthy and light meal, which does not need to be served with rice or any other starchy side dish. I served it though with a secret fruity accompaniment, which you can notice on the picture. It complimented it fantastically and helped bring out the delicate taste of sole. I will post a recipe for it shortly.

But first, enjoy ...

Sole Baked in Macadamia Nuts Crust
(Serves four)

4 sole fillets,
1 cup of fresh bread crumbs; I used a two-days old baguette, which I chopped into small pieces in a food processor,
1 cup macadamia nuts roughly chopped, also in a food processor,
1/3 cup chopped flat-leaf Italian parsley,
1 lemon,
2 tbsp olive oil,
salt and pepper.

1. Heat oven to 370F.
2. Sprinkle an oven proof dish lightly with oil.
3. Lay fish fillets in it and season them with salt pepper and sprinkle with lemon oil.
4. In a bowl create a mix of breadcrumbs, macadamia nuts, and parsley.
5. Cover each fillet with this mix, which once baked will form the crust.
7. Cover dish with aluminum foil and place in the oven for 20 minutes.
8. Remove the foil and bake it another 10-15 minutes until the crust turns gold.

Serve it with a delicate white wine, e.g., from New Zealand, like Cloudy Bay or The Crossings Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc. Following with a light salad is another good idea.

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