Well, I’m back from my incredible trip to Hawaii with my husband and no words can really describe pure paradise! No words! But I’m sure I’ll find a few…we stayed at the Grand Hyatt in Kauai for 5 days of pure sunshine and relaxation. We drove a convertible with the top down, kayaked, swam at a beautiful waterfall, bought fruits and vegetables at a local farmers market, drank Kauai Coffee (yum), hiked at Waimea Canyon, ate lots of raw fish and just sat around the pool drinking pina colada’s and mai tai’s. Here are some pics from our vacation.
Now on to the food! Since I keep kosher, there wasn’t too much for us to eat in Hawaii besides raw fish so we just ate a lot of raw fish! Whenever we could get our hands on some raw tuna, salmon, yellow tail and red snapper, we were very happy vacationers. We also brought some food along with us, like wraps, peanut butter, turkey, etc., so we wouldn’t starve. Let me tell ya, it’s hard watching everyone around you order lunch by the pool and eat whatever the locals recommend, but we are used to travelling the ‘kosher way’ so peanut butter wraps for lunch were just fine. I certainly drank my share of Kauai coffee and snacked on Mauna Loa chocolate covered macadamia nuts whenever possible! As a kid, I remember flying to Hawaii with my family and eating bags and bags of macadamia nuts that the stewardesses were happy to give us! Since then, macadamias have been my favorite and most coveted nut. So when I saw Wasabi and Teriyaki Macadamias seasoned with spicy wasabi and sweet teriyaki, I HAD to have them. You could taste the heat from the wasabi and the sweetness of the teriyaki in every bite and I knew it would be perfect on a beautiful piece of halibut. So while I’m in Seattle, still on vacation from real life, my dad and I decided to cook together and this is the dish we came up with…
Wasabi and Teriyaki Macadamia Nut Halibut
2 lbs. fresh or frozen halibut
3 Tbsp milk
1-2 Tbsp dried spice mixture (you can just use your favorite; mine included basil, garlic, onion, paprika, lemon zest, orange zest, etc.)
3/4 cup wasabi and teriyaki flavored macadamia nuts
2 cups fresh basil
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 tsp fresh lemon juice (1/2 lemon)
zest of half lemon + slices for baking
3 cloves garlic
salt and pepper to taste
I thoroughly washed off the halibut filet with cold water then soaked in a deep bowl filled with ice, water and milk for 15 minutes. By soaking the fish with milk, any residual fishy smell will subside. You won’t believe how the smell just goes away!
I dried off the fish with paper towels then placed in a large casserole dish prepared with cooking spray. I sprinkled on the dried spice mixture then let that sit while I made the pesto. My parents grow all sorts of beautiful herbs and vegetables at their house so I took advantage of the fresh and fragrant basil.
I mixed together the macadamia nuts, basil, lemon juice, lemon zest and garlic in my parents Vitamix (you can just use a food processor for this but the Vitamix is incredibly powerful). I actually chopped my macadamia nuts a little bit first before adding the basil but you don’t have to do that if you want chunkier pesto.
While processing this mixture, my dad slowly drizzled in the olive oil until it reached the consistency I wanted. For me, it was 1/3 cup of olive oil but it might be less for you. If your food processor doesn’t have an opening where you can drizzle while processing, just add the olive oil with the rest of the ingredients and chop. I tasted the pesto then added salt and pepper to my liking.
I spread the pesto all over the top of the halibut then placed a few lemon slices along the center for added citrus.
I cooked the halibut uncovered at 400 degrees F for 20-25 minutes, until cooked through. And that’s it! You can sprinkle some Parmesan over the top or just a little bit of crushed sea salt. The halibut was so moist and packed with sweet and spicy flavor from the macadamia nuts. The lemon added just the right amount of bite while all of that fragrant basil made my taste buds do a little hula. Yup, I made a Hawaii joke! This dish seriously makes me want to go back on vacation.