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Herb and macadamia crusted halibut a festive end to summer season

Simply Food

September 6, 2011
By Wendy Monro

The summer is winding down to an end. Can this be? Already? Well, summer doesn't officially end until Sept. 23. For me, however, summer ends once the kids are back in school.

This was one of the strangest summers ever. I could not believe how incredibly humid and hot it was in southern Minnesota this year. I didn't spend as much time outdoors as I usually would. My garden was a disaster. I had such high hopes for this garden and it all fell to pieces right before my eyes. This was partially due to the heat but also due to my neglect in weeding and watering. I guess I wasn't giving it the love it needed. A garden needs attention. I know that!

To make matters worse, I haven't been to the gym in two months (that is not like me). Of course, the worst part of the summer was losing an amazing friend. I am still coping with the reality of this loss. This wasn't the first big loss I have experienced in my life; but, this was one that hit hard. In short, the summer was different, surreal in a sense, and now it is coming to an end.

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Herb and macadamia nut crusted halibut over mashed potatoes and spinach with a creamy mango sauce

I am not going to let go of summer without a final celebration. I have to appreciate my wonderful family and friends. I am a very lucky person. This is the last big summer weekend blast. I am spending it with my mom and Doug, my kids and Claud, and my cousin Alex, in Las Vegas.

I planned a menu for the five days my mom and Doug will be spending with us. I spent two days shopping for all of the food and the wine. I was giddy with excitement. I haven't seen my mom in a few months. So, I am so happy to be spending some quality time with her... in and out of the kitchen.

I am very excited to have so many days to cook for lots of people. I am especially excited to be cooking with my mom. We are an amazing cooking team (if I do say so myself). My cousin, Alex, is also an incredible cook. He came over early the first day to help me make the first night's dinner. We decided to make a cheese platter for a starter and some ceviche too. Then, gazpacho for a first course. Finally, we would make herb-crusted halibut over a bed of mashed potatoes with sauteed spinach. We surrounded this plate with a creamy mango sauce. It does not get much better than this.

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Herb and Macadamia Nut Crusted Halibut

Serves: 6

Time: 25 minutes

6 (5 ounce) fillets of halibut

4 tablespoons olive oil, divided

1 cup macadamia nuts

1/2 cup flat leaf parsley

1/2 cup dill

2 cups Panko bread crumbs

1/2 teaspoon red chili flakes

1/4 teaspoon pepper

1/4 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Lay the halibut fillets on a cooking sheet. Drizzle them with 2 tablespoons olive oil. In a food processor, combine, nuts, parsley, dill, bread crumbs, chili flakes, salt, pepper, and 2 tablespoons olive oil. Blend well in the food processor. Place the halibut into the oven for ten minutes. Take them out and pour the herb and nut mixture over the tops of the fish. Return to the oven and place them under the broiler for another five minutes (until the crust has browned). Serve over mashed potatoes and spinach (with or without sauce).

Originally, I planned to make herb crusted Chilean sea bass. However, I couldn't find sea bass anywhere. I finally settled on halibut. I was happy I did. The halibut was superb. I believe things happen for a reason. I cannot imagine that the sea bass could have tasted any better than this halibut tasted. I think the halibut was meant to be. Halibut is a firm white meat fish. Its snow white flesh has a delicately sweet flavor and is high in nutritional value. It is a perfect end of the summer fish because you will most likely find it fresh as the fishing season for halibut is summer and fall.

I think Alex and I got a little carried away with our menu for the evening. Unfortunately, by the time we got to the final course, everyone was pretty full from the incredible gazpacho and ceviche and all of the delicious cheeses. The final course was pretty heavy (with mashed potatoes, spinach and a mango sauce). It was extremely delicious. The macadamia herb crust was incredibly tasty. I liked the combination of the sweet crust with the creamy mango sauce. However, I could only manage a couple of bites. After two bites, I couldn't eat any more food. In the end, we had a lot of left over halibut.

The next day, my mom and I decided to reheat the halibut and make it with a different sauce. She created an arrugula, onion, garlic sauce. She added in a little cream and some soy sauce. This flavor was out of this world. I had never thought of a cream and soy sauce combination. Now, I highly recommend it. The taste of this combination is nothing less than sensational. The next night, every bite of the herb crusted halibut was devoured by all.

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The last big weekend of the summer was off to a great start. The next few nights were followed by a mushroom smothered steak dinner, pork chops and salad, and pot stickers with homemade fried rice. We experienced lots and lots of great food and incredible company. When this weekend ends, I will definitely get back to the gym and prepare myself for a happier fall.



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