Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Iron Chef Nuts Winner: Macadamia Nut Crusted Tilapia

As soon as I bit into Morgan’s dish for Iron Chef Nuts, I knew it was a recipe I’d be making as often as possible. And I had a good idea that it would end up being the winner of the night (which it was). We make a lot of Parmesan Tilapia at home, and this recipe is similar in style, but has a completely different, delicious taste. It’s crunchy and melty all at once. The nut flavor is pronounced but it doesn’t overwhelm. I made this the very next weekend after tasting it, and will definitely be putting it in the regular rotation of meals. I suggest you do the same.

I did find that the topping made by this recipe was way too much for our four filets of fish. Being a fan of the “more is more” philosophy, I still used it all, and I would definitely say that this is one of those situations where you are better served to use less topping. So for the recipe below, I’ve taken the liberty of cutting down the amount of nuts to what seems appropriate to me. But you can find the original recipe here on All Recipes if you want to try it for yourself.

4 (6 ounce) tilapia
6.5 ounces macadamia nuts
1 tablespoon soy sauce
2 cloves garlic
1 teaspoon hot sauce
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon black pepper

We buy large packages of individually frozen tilapia at Kroger because they are so convenient and easy to just thaw out when we need them. I would recommend buying the name brand though, not Kroger brand (they tend to taste fishy). And obviously, if you want to buy fresh that will always taste the best. The macadamia nuts I found were dry roasted. I would have gotten regular roasted nuts if I could find them, though.

So, simply mix the nuts, soy sauce, garlic, hot sauce, brown sugar, olive oil and black pepper in a food processor (or blender, but the processor works better in my opinion) until they reach your desired consistency. You could go for a smoother puree, or a slightly crunchier one (which I recommend). Spread this mixture over the top of the tilapia filets, covering them completely. Again, if you end up with some mixture left over, don’t be afraid to throw it away.

The recipe calls for you to broil the fish for 15 minutes, but thanks to the reviewers and my own knowledge of broiling, I realized that would be a big mistake and end in burninating (yes, burninating) the fish. Instead, I baked it at 400 degrees for ten minutes. At the very end, I turned on the broiler for a minute or two, while keeping an eye on it, to give the top a golden crust. And that is that! It’s ridiculously simple for something so good. Congrats on your win, Morgan!

(Click here for a printable recipe)

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