Friday, 10 June 2016

Macadamia Nut, Honey and Thyme Crusted Halibut

We arrived back from our vacation a couple of days ago, and I was pleasantly surprised to find that the fridge did not need a major clean fact, the only thing was in there to use up were some Brussels sprouts. These were turned into a slaw, along with the Asian pear that was in the fruit bowl.

The crystallized honey needed some attention, so after heating it up and melting the crystals, I used it together with some macadamia nuts and fresh thyme to make a quick crust for the halibut that I bought. It's halibut season...

I bought fruit and vegetables with this in mind, and we ended up with a very colourful meal...full of flavour and texture, and so easy to put together.

Make the Brussels sprouts slaw first. Combine:

2 cups thinly shaved Brussels sprouts
3 green onions, thinly sliced
2 teaspoons chopped fresh parsley


1/2 Asian pear, grated

Toss with:

2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
3 - 4 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 tablespoon lime juice 
salt and pepper to taste

Mix well, taste and adjust the acidity of the dressing by adding more lime juice if needed.


Dried cranberries

Cover the slaw and refrigerate until it is time to serve.

I made a mango salsa to serve with the fish. Peel and dice one mango, add 1 thinly sliced green onion and a quarter of a red pepper, minced. Season with lime juice and sriracha.

Heat the oven to 375F.

In a small bowl, combine:

1/3 cup macadamia nuts, chopped
1 teaspoon chopped fresh parsley
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper

Stir in:

1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

Line an ovenproof dish with lightly oiled tinfoil.

Place the halibut onto the foil; lightly salt and pepper the fish. I used:

3 pieces, each about 4 ounces

Divide the nut and honey mixture between the fish fillets, gently spreading it.

Bake the fish until it is cooked through. Mine took 10 minutes, and then I turned the broiler on to give a bit of colour to the topping.

Remove from the oven.

Serve the fish with the mango salsa and Brussels sprouts slaw. I also served oven roasted potatoes.

  • For the nut topping, any nuts can be used. Roughly chop them with your knife; if the pieces are too small they will burn in the oven. Nuts that work well with fish are macadamia nuts, pistachios, pine nuts, pecans.
  • I used a combination of fresh thyme and parsley. Rosemary is another herb that is suitable for fish. The lemon zest  can be omitted if you like, or even replaced with lime or orange zest.
  • Feel free to add in a clove of minced garlic; I chose not to this time, but I have added it to similar crusts.
  • Honey can be replaced with maple syrup; Dijon mustard can be replaced with grainy mustard if you like. This will increase the texture as well as the mustard flavour.
  • The topping can be made a day ahead; store it in the fridge until needed.
  • Other fish that would be suitable include salmon, snapper, tilapia or haddock. Large scallops can be crusted and served as a canape or with a salad.
  • Boneless pork chops, pork tenderloin, rack of lamb or chicken breast can be crusted in the same way. Keep in mind that these will take longer to cook than the fish does, so make sure that the nuts are not chopped as finely.
  • Brussels sprouts work well in a slaw, as they are so similar to cabbage. I am not a fan of cooked Brussels sprouts, unless they are shaved and very quickly stirfried. Having them as a slaw also maintains the crunchiness. I cut the core end off, removed any discoloured outside leaves and put them through the food processor, using the slicing blade on the thinnest setting.
  • Instead of adding carrots, I wanted something even sweeter to offset the bitterness of the sprouts. The last piece of fruit in the bowl was an Asian pear...problem solved. Other fruits that would work are apples or pears. Jicama can be used as well.
  • Dried fruit adds more sweetness, as well as colour and texture to the slaw. Try raisins or sultanas, apricots, figs. Nuts can be added as well, but as there were nuts on the fish I did not add any to the slaw.
  • As far as the mango salsa goes, a bit of chopped fresh cilantro adds a lot to the salsa...unfortunately I'm the only one in the family who likes cilantro.

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