One of my favorite types of fish to dig into is halibut. The fish itself is light and flaky, and when it’s cooked well, it comes out so tender and moist.
It’s fantastic with a bunch of different flavor pairings, but for me, the ultimate is a preparation that’s inspired by the tropics.
A long time ago, I went to Hawaii for the first time with an ex-boyfriend. His parents brought us along to their timeshare and it was one of the most magical trips. We ate all the fresh fish, and on the last night, his parents treated us to a truly incredible meal.
We sat so close to the water while the sun was setting. It was there that I enjoyed my first piece of macadamia nut crusted halibut. The crunchy exterior paired with the light and flaky fish inside was a combination that completely blew me away.
The flavor of the macadamia nuts really shone in this dish, and there was this delicious tropical sauce on top…
Oh boy, I just gobbled that fish up in about two minutes flat. I then patiently waited as the rest of our party finished their meals and watched the sunset.
It was 100% worth being the first one to finish. I know that sometimes that can be an embarrassing thing to do, but for me, it’s just the sign of a really fantastic meal.
This recipe was inspired by that special meal long ago. I don’t quite remember the exact sauce that was served on the fish I had in Hawaii, but I distinctly remember the combination of nuts and coconut, so that’s exactly what I focused on for this recipe.
First, you have a fresh and nutty crust on the halibut fillets, a combination of macadamia nuts, panko breadcrumbs, and fresh herbs. It’s a really simple flavor combination, so it highlights each ingredient well.
This makes the fillets nice and light, without taking away from the flavor of the actual fish itself.
Then you have a creamy jalapeno coconut sauce to go along with it. This recipe uses coconut milk and jalapenos, with a burst of acid from fresh lime juice. That’s actually all the recipe is, with a dash of salt.
Again, the focus of this dish is to offer something that is fresh, and that really makes the flavor of each ingredient pop on your taste buds. The hint of spice is just the right final touch.
You will feel like you’re sitting on a beach at sunset with every smooth and savory bite of this meal.
I love to serve this fish when I have people coming over, and I know this recipe will seriously impress any guests that you invite to your home as well. They will think that you spent hours on it, but the truth is, it couldn’t be easier to create in your own kitchen.
My biggest piece of advice for this recipe is to be sure to follow the instructions closely, and have all of your ingredients ready before you start cooking. While it’s an easy recipe, it comes together quickly – so if your ingredients aren’t ready, you will risk messing up the dish.
If you follow my simple instructions, you won’t have anything to worry about!
Be sure to keep reading all the way through to the end of this article for my side dish suggestions to serve alongside this dish for dinner.Print
Macadamia nut crusted halibut is one of the easiest elegant seafood dishes to make. You’ll feel like you’re eating on a tropical island.
For the Sauce:
- Cooking oil spray
- 2 jalapenos, seeded and halved
- 1 cup canned unsweetened coconut milk (not low-fat)
- 1 Tbsp fresh lime juice
- 1/2 tsp salt
For the Fish:
- 4 6-ounce boneless/skinless Pacific halibut fillets
- 1/2 cup roasted and salted macadamia nuts, chopped
- 1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
- 1 ½ tsp chopped fresh parsley, divided
- 1/2 tsp chopped fresh chives
- 1 large egg
- 1 Tbsp water
- 2 tsp olive oil or coconut oil
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- Preheat oven to 350˚F and place oven rack in center position.
- Grease a baking sheet with cooking oil spray. Place jalapeno halves cut side down on prepared baking sheet. Roast in the oven until the skins are bubbly and are charred in some places, about 10 minutes. Remove from oven and transfer to a zip-top bag. Seal and set aside for 10 minutes. Keep the oven on.
- In a small saucepan, bring coconut milk to a gentle simmer over medium heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until thickened and reduced to 1/2 cup, about 20 minutes. Keep warm on low heat.
- Add breadcrumbs and nuts to a food processor, and pulse until a crumbly mixture forms. Add mixture to a shallow, wide-mouthed bowl and stir in parsley and chives.
- In a shallow bowl, beat the egg and 1 tablespoon water to make an egg wash.
- Season both sides of the fish fillets with salt and pepper.
- Dredge each fillet in egg wash, then coat completely in the breadcrumb mixture.
- Heat oil in a nonstick oven-safe skillet over medium-high heat. Once the oil is hot and shimmering, add fish to pan.
- Saute the fish until golden brown on both sides, about 2-3 minutes per side. Transfer pan to the oven and roast for 5 minutes, until fish is cooked through, golden on the outside, and flaky on the inside. Remove from the oven.
- While the fish is cooking, peel the skins off the jalapenos. Add jalapenos to a cleaned out food processor or blender along with the reduced coconut milk, lime juice, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Blend until smooth.
- Divide the warm coconut sauce between four plates. Place a halibut fillet on each plate and garnish with freshly chopped parsley. Serve immediately.
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Cook Time: 30 minutes
- Category: Seafood
- Method: Baking, Stovetop
- Cuisine: Dinner
Keywords: halibut, fish, macadamia nut, nut-crusted halibut
Cooking By the Numbers…
Step 1 – Halve Jalapenos, Chop Fresh Herbs, And Measure Remaining Ingredients
Halve and remove the seeds from two jalapenos.
Chop enough parsley leaves until you have about 1 1/2 teaspoons total.
Chop enough chives until you have 1/2 teaspoon total.
Measure out all of the remaining ingredients as listed on the ingredients list.
Note that before you measure out the coconut milk, you should shake the can vigorously to break up any fat solids that have formed in the can.
If any solids remain when you open the can, simply pour all of the coconut milk with the solids into a bowl and whisk until combined. No solids should remain. Measure out 1 cup and continue with the recipe.
Preheat your oven to 350˚F. Place a rack in the center position of the oven.
Grease a rimmed baking sheet with cooking oil spray.
Step 2 – Roast Jalapenos
Place the jalapeno halves on the baking sheet cut side down.
Roast in the oven, until the skins are charred in some places and bubbly. This will take about 10 minutes.
Remove the pan from the oven and transfer the jalapenos to a zip-top bag. Seal and set aside.
Keep the oven on.
Step 3 – Reduce Coconut Milk
Add the coconut milk to a small saucepan over medium heat, and bring to a gentle simmer.
Cook, stirring occasionally, until thickened. The mixture should be reduced to 1/2 cup. This will take about 20 minutes. Put a lid on the saucepan and keep warm over low heat.
Step 4 – Coat
In a food processor, combine the breadcrumbs and nuts. Pulse until the mixture is crumbly. Be sure not to overmix, or it will turn into a nut butter and that’s not what we’re going for here!
Add the mixture to a shallow, wide bowl. Stir in 1 teaspoon of the parsley and the chives.
In a separate shallow bowl, whisk together the egg and 1 tablespoon of water.
Season the fillets all over with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Dredge each fillet in the egg wash, then coat in the breadcrumb mixture.
Step 5 – Cook
Add the oil to a nonstick oven-safe skillet over medium-high heat. Once the oil is shimmering and hot, add the prepared fish fillets.
Cook until golden brown on both sides. This will take about 2-3 minutes per side. Be careful not to overcook the fish at this point.
Transfer the skillet to the oven and bake for 5 minutes, until fish is golden on the outside and cooked through. Remove from the oven immediately.
Step 6 – Make Sauce
Wipe out your food processor canister and wipe off the blade, or get out your high-speed blender.
While the fish is in the oven, peel the skins off the jalapenos. Add the jalapenos, reduced coconut milk, lime juice, and 1/2 teaspoon of salt to your food processor or blender.
Blend until smooth.
Step 7 – Serve
Divide the coconut sauce between four plates. Place a fillet on top of the sauce on each plate.
Garnish with freshly chopped parsley. Serve warm.
What Goes with This Tropical Dinner?
In addition, you could also serve up roasted or pressure cooked carrots, or even roasted red potatoes. I just recommend serving something with a pop of color, so the entire plate isn’t completely beige.
You eat with your eyes first! And the fresh herb garnish does provide a nice touch, but fresh vegetables will help to take your plating even further.
For more excellent fish recipes, give these a try:
- Cajun Salmon
- Tilapia with White Asparagus
- Fish Cooked in Brown Butter
- Parmesan Tilapia
- Chipotle Lime Salmon
When will you serve this special meal? Tell us in the comments below, and be sure to rate the recipe after you’ve tried it.
Photos by Meghan Yager, © Ask the Experts, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See our TOS for more details. With additional writing and editing by Fanny Slater and Allison Sidhu.
Nutritional information derived from a database of known generic and branded foods and ingredients and was not compiled by a registered dietitian or submitted for lab testing. It should be viewed as an approximation.
About Meghan Yager
Meghan Yager is a food addict turned food and travel writer with a love for creating uncomplicated, gourmet recipes and devouring anything the world serves up. As the author of the food and travel blog Cake 'n Knife, Meghan focuses on unique foodie experiences from around the world to right at home in your own kitchen.