“Crispy-crunchy gets our vote every time,” wrote JeanMarie Brownson in her column Dinner at Home. Her memorable pan-fried Macadamia Coconut Crusted Fish won our vote, and stomachs, handily.
Crunchy pineapple relish Mix 1 cup finely diced fresh pineapple chunks, 1/4 of a seedless cucumber, finely diced (peeled if desired); 2 tablespoons finely diced red onion, rinsed; 2 to 3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro, chive or parsley (or a combination); 1/2 teaspoon fresh lime juice; drizzle of sesame oil; 1/4 teaspoon salt and freshly ground pepper to taste in a small bowl. Let stand, stirring once or twice, about 20 minutes.
6 pieces (about 6 ounces each) skinless fish fillets, such as mahi mahi, or cod each about 3/4-inch thick
1 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground pepper
1/2 cup dry roasted macadamia nuts, finely chopped
1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
1/4 cup flaked or shredded unsweetened coconut
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro, chive or parsley (or a combination)
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
2 egg whites
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
Crunchy pineapple relish, see recipe below
Heat oven to 450 degrees. Pat fish dry. Sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon salt and pepper to taste. Mix chopped nuts, breadcrumbs, coconut, herbs, ginger, 1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper to taste in a shallow dish. Put egg whites and remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt into another shallow dish; beat lightly with a fork until frothy.
Dip fish into egg whites; let excess drip off. Coat fish on all sides in breadcrumb mixture. Put onto a wire rack set over a pan. If desired, refrigerate an hour or so.
Heat oil in large, well-seasoned cast-iron (or nonstick) ovenproof skillet over medium-high. Add fish in a single uncrowded layer (use two skillets if necessary). Cook until golden, about 2 minutes. Gently flip fish; put into oven. Cook until crisped and fish is nearly firm, 5 to 7 minutes.
Transfer to heated serving plates. Serve with lime wedges and topped with pineapple relish.