Sunday, August 12, 2012

pecan encrusted white fish

I didn't grow up eating pecans - my dad dislikes the very thought of them (along with sour cream, cottage cheese, and cranberries), which means my mom didn't even bother to keep them in the house. But oh dear, do I love them now! Rich and buttery, they're in cakes, pies, cookies, salads, turkey stuffing, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera (The King and I, anyone?).

While my favorite pecan dishes are of the sweet treat variety, those lovely indulgences are out of the question for me right now. You see, one of my very best friends in the entire universe, Lauren (affectionately known as Lolo), is getting married in 27 days, and I am incredibly honored to stand by her side on that special day in a snazzy 'Italian Plum' number that even Cinderella would be jealous front of 300 people. Translation? Decreased sweets and increased treadmill for the month. Er, except or the butter pecan ice cream I had at Eastern Market this afternoon with my bff...oops. ;-)

Enter: pecan-crusted fish - a guilt-free way to savor those yummy nuts in a lean protein-rich dish. Taking just a few minutes to prep and 10 minutes to cook, it can then easily be thrown on a salad with a simple balsamic vinaigrette. VoilĂ ! The perfect - bridesmaid dress approved - lunch or light dinner.

Pecan Encrusted Haddock
Yield: 4 servings

1 lb of wild-caught white fish (I used haddock but halibut, tilapia, or mahi-mahi would all be wonderful, and the original recipe actually called for salmon.)
2 tbsp Dijon mustard
2 tbsp butter, melted
1 tsp balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp honey or agave nectar
3/4 cup pecans, finely chopped
3 tsp cilantro, finely minced
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 400°.

Rinse off the fish and cut into 4 filets if necessary. Salt and pepper each side and place in a single layer, skin side down, on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet.

In a small bowl, whisk together the mustard, butter, vinegar, and honey/agave nectar.

In a separate bowl, mix together the pecans and cilantro. Stir in about 2 tsp of the mustard sauce and mix until blended.

Brush the remainder of the mustard sauce evenly over the fish. Spoon the pecan mixture over the sauce, lightly pressing to help it adhere.

Bake for 10 minutes or until transparent and flaky.

Adapted from The Delicious Philosophy