For the Italian half of the extended family, seafood is the Christmas Eve tradition. Given that my Italian is amongst the seafood-haters in the house, we’ve never hosted this event. Until this year, when we were volunteered. Still, I just couldn’t bring myself to do linguine and clam sauce, smelts or mussels. So, inspired by last week’s visit to The Fish House in Pensacola, we served a decidedly non-Italian seafood dinner.
Funny, because Christmas dinner the next day was a complete garlic-overload of Parmesan Spread, Bruschetta, Salad with Creamy Garlic Dressing, Lasagna, Meatballs and Sausage served to the Southern half of the family.
There were no complaints from either side. (Partly because I made chicken versions of both the fish and shrimp to appease those who won’t eat anything that comes out of the water.)
Despite my love for Publix, Lombardi’s is the place for fresh seafood. I went in Wednesday afternoon and took a number. Spying out the selection while waiting, I was a bit disappointed to see just a couple of small mahi filets in the case. Just as I was trying to decide on an alternative, out comes a huge tray of very fresh just-cut mahi-mahi! Perfect!
So, here’s the first of our fishy Christmas Eve entrees, Pecan Crusted Mahi Mahi served over Butternut Squash Risotto. The pecan crust would be good with any mild, light fish. I was making nearly five pounds of fish so I made a lot of topping here. Adjust amounts accordingly if you’re making a smaller amount.
- Pecans, 1 to 1 1/2 cups
- Panko Bread Crumbs, 1 to 1 1/2 cups
- Butter, about 1/2 cup plus a couple of tablespoons
- Parsley, 1/3 cup, snipped
Snip the parsley.Whirl the pecans in the food processor for just a few seconds. You want fine pieces, not puree.Melt one stick of butter in a bowl and add the pecans.Add the bread crumbs and parsley. Season to taste with salt and pepper.Stir it just until it all holds together.If it’s not already cut, slice the fish into individual size portions. Melt a couple of tablespoons of butter and spread it on a large baking pan. Coat the fish on both sides and then arrange the fish skin side down.Cover each piece of fish generously with the pecan mixture.Gently press it down so it sticks.Bake at 350 for about 20 minutes. Adjust the time as needed, depending on the size and thickness of your fish.We served a piece of fish over a scoop of risotto, alongside Grits a Ya Ya which is coming next!