Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Easy Dinner: Sesame-Mac Nut-Coconut Crusted Opah on Asian Slaw

A few weeks ago I adapted a Sam Choy recipe for Coconut Cream Spinach Sauce to make it much healthier and used it on some local monchong fillets, (see post here). It was delicious but it made me keep thinking about the other half of the recipe which was fish, (in Sam's case it was mahimahi), crusted with a coating of sesame seeds and macadamia nuts. I thought the combination of the crusted fish with the creamy sauce (especially Sam's full-fat version) seemed like a bit too much, but separate the two parts, lighten them both up, change a few ingredients and you have two great dinners. 

Sam's Sesame-Mac Nut Crust has finely chopped mac nuts, sesame seeds and panko crumbs and is dipped and flour and egg and fried in a good amount of butter and olive oil. My version combines the mac nuts with sesame seeds, adds some unsweetened shredded coconut, and switches the regular panko to whole wheat panko crumbs. I omitted the flour and egg, just pressing the crust into the moist fish and pan seared it in about a Tablespoon of olive oil. For my fish, I used some fresh, local Opah steaks. If you are not up on your local Hawaiian fish, Opah or Moonfish is one of the most colorful fish, with a silver body and rose-red fins. It is rich, a bit fatty, with tender white flesh and a mild slightly sweet flavor. Although it can be eaten raw, it is most often poached, baked or sauteed.

Sam and I do agree on one thing--just coating one side of the fish with the crust. Sam says, "I like to crust just one side of the fish because it makes for a nice contrast in textures--crisp on one side and moist on the other." I would add that when you are using, higher fat/calorie coating ingredients, coating just one side of the fish, cuts down the amount you use, thus lowering your fat and calories.

Sesame-Mac Nut-Coconut Crusted Opah
Adapted from Sam Choys Island Flavors
(Serves 4)

4 (5-6oz) Opah steaks (or substitute your favorite fish)
Sesame-Mac Nut-Coconut Crust (recipe below)
1 Tbsp olive oil

Dip one side of each piece of fish in crust mixture and press crust firmly into fish. Heat 1 Tbsp olive oil in a large pan. When pan is hot, add fish, crust side down and cook about 1 1/2-2 minutes (watch carefully as mac nuts will brown quickly). Turn and cook other side about until fish is cooked through (time will vary from 2-4 minutes based on thickness of fish.
Serve warm with rice, slaw or salad and fresh lime wedges to squeeze on fish.

Sesame-Mac Nut-Coconut Crust
(Makes 1 1/4 cups)

1/4 cup finely chopped macadamia nuts
1/4 cup roasted sesame seeds
1/4 cup unsweetened, shredded coconut
1/2 cup whole wheat panko crumbs
1/2 tsp salt 
1/4 tsp pepper 

Mix ingredients well

Notes/Results: I didn't try Sam's original recipe but this crust was ono! (delicious!) The coconut and whole wheat panko made it nice and crispy and it was perfect on the moist fish. The crust would work well on any kind of somewhat-firm white fish if opah isn't in your neck of the woods; mahimahi, halibut, tilapia. etc. I served it on top of some leftover Asian Slaw from the cookbook review of Memorable Recipes I posted here. With the combo of cabbages, red pepper, carrot and herbs and a light gingery dressing, and topped with some chopped fresh mint and lime, it was a great warm weather meal. 


  1. looks so good!! and I like how you lighten things up.

  2. I'm intrigued by the coating you used on the fish. It sounds quite interesting. Have a wonderful day.

  3. I love the coconut-crustedness of this. Plus the macadamia nuts. I have been eating them like crazy lately.

  4. This crust does sound amazing!! I've only had Opah once and it's been a while..don't really remember the taste :( This sounds delicious, though!! great usual :D

  5. From the title I thought it was going to be a seriously involved recipe, but it sounds so simple and delicious!

  6. I remember when they did opah on Iron Chef. Batali carrying it proudly through the stadium kitchen. What a wild fish!
    A wonderful looking dinner, such vibrant flavours going on.

  7. Macs and cocnuts on fish...great! Really delicious. It's a nice, sweet taste on each bite.

  8. Wow, Deb! That looks great! I'd love a plate of this right now!

  9. I think that looks divine! You got the fish cooked perfectly :o)

  10. Yum - perfect island flavors - coconut and macadamias.

  11. How delicious!! I love the crust!! Such yummy flavors.

  12. This looks so colorful and delicious! I have both coconut and macadamia nuts in the pantry, I must try this.

  13. Wish I could find ww panko. I love the combination of macadamias, coconut, and panko. I'll bet I could even eat some tilapia with this wonderful crust. Your photo is amazing.

  14. "coating just one side of the fish, cuts down the amount you use, thus lowering your fat and calories." I like the way you think. Turn this delicious seafood fare into a low calorie dish.

  15. I love the addition of coconut in the macadamia nut crust. Looks fresh and delicious!
    *Arlene mentioned she couldn't find whole wheat Panko crumbs; carries them.


Mahalo for visiting and for leaving a comment. I love reading them and they mean a lot!

All advertising, spam, inappropriate (or just plain rude) comments will be promptly deleted. I do appreciate your right to free speech and to your opinion but I'm not into mean, rude, or mean snarky (non-mean snarky is just fine!) ;-)