One day it was cold. The next day it was warm. Today is gonna be hot. Hot I tell you.
Spring makes me want to get out my shorts and just be outside. Seriously I get itchy feet to not spend anytime indoors. I think it is stir crazy madness from being indoors all winter. If I didn’t have yoga during the winter, I’m sure I would commit mass homicide. Ya know?
The other thing spring does is make me think about food. Okay, maybe I think about food all the time. I like to cook. I like to eat. I like those two things together even more. Even when I travel, the first thing I do is look up different restaurants, holes in the wall and generally check out the food sitch. Museums, places of interest and what the region is known for are secondary. I gotta say I was in HEAVEN when I went to Italy. Umm, cause, ummm, there was just so much damn delicious food at really beautiful places next to museums and places of interest. And the wine, sheesh. Nirvana. Seriously.
But I digress. Spring. Food. Got it. So spring makes me think of things like pesto sauce and pasta primavera. It makes me want to trade in my beef and lamb for scallops and fish. Lighter food for warmer weather. Makes perfect sense to me. Not just salads and the like. But delicate sauces, seafood, chilled white wine. Lets not forget the fruit. Spring makes me crave fruit. Juicy berries. Pineapples and tropical good things.
Having lived in Alaska, I got a lot of great seafood. And for those of you that don’t know, Alaska has GREAT restaurants with really innovative chefs. They do amazing things with seafood. What is even more interesting is the close connection that Alaskans have with Hawaiians. Guess it’s cause we are all so remote from the rest of the country. Both states are separated by miles of stuff before we can get to the next state. So we stick together in lots of ways.
One of the best ways is the fusion of food. The recipe I am posting below is from a restaurant in the Kenai Peninsula, home of the best fly fishing in the world. A place where you can catch record breaking salmon. It is considered the playground of South Central Alaska. And it is. The restaurant is Mykel’s. If you get a chance to go, do. You won’t be disappointed. In either Mykel’s or the Kenai. Seriously.
This recipe combines fish with fruit. Alaska with Hawaii. It says spring. It taste delicious. Fabulosity all rolled together. They make it with a Mango-Papaya Salsa. I prefer a spicy Strawberry one. Both are good. Enjoy.
Macadamia Nut Crusted Halibut with Mango-Papaya Salsa
4 6- to 7-oz. Halibut Filets
1 cup Macadamia Nuts—crushed
3/4 cup Panko (Japanese bread crumbs)
1 Tbsp. Water (mixed with eggs)
Flour for dredging
Peanut Oil for sautéing
Place macadamia nuts and panko in food processor bowl fitted with a work blade. Using pulse, crush nuts and panko together until you achieve a medium coarseness. Do not over grind nuts or you will extract oil. Beat eggs with water until smooth. Heat a large saute pan or skillet on medium-low to medium heat. Lightly season halibut, dredge in flour, shake off excess then dip in egg mixture, then place in macadamia nut mixture and coat well. Press nuts on and lightly shake off excess. Add oil to pan and place halibut in pan. Let brown 3 to 4 minutes then turn over. Continue cooking halibut until golden brown on both sides—approximately 6 to 8 minutes total time. If using thick filets (one inch or more), finish cooking in a 350 degree F oven for 7 to 10 minutes. Serves 4.
Mango & Papaya Salsa—Hawaiian Style
1 Papaya—peeled, seeded and cut into small H-inch pieces
1 Mango—peeled, seeded and cut into small H-inch pieces
3 Tblsp. Sweet Chili Sauce
1 can Papaya Nectar (11.5 oz. can)
1 tsp. Mint Flakes—crushed
2 tsp. Chopped Pickled Ginger
1/4 tsp. Salt
Place cut fruit into a mixing bowl, add all other ingredients and mix well. Let set two hours. Can be made up to five days in advance. Serve at room temperature or just warm (do not let boil–fruit will fall apart).
Strawberry Jalapeño Salsa
15-20 strawberries, chopped into small even dice
1/3 medium red onion, finely minced
1 cucumber, peeled and diced
handful of cilantro, well rinsed and finely chopped
1 Jalapeño, finely minced, seeds and all. (leave the seeds out for less heat)
juice of 1 lime
fresh cracked black pepper
Mix everything in a bowl. Chill until ready to serve.
~about one hour before serving