Hazelnut and Panko Crusted Mahi Mahi (Almost) in the Dark


Let me set the scene for you: it’s 5:30 on a Saturday evening (aka last night), and I’m responding to comments on my last post while thinking about the new recipe I want to share with you all. While in the middle of a comment, I hear it …



That was the sound of the smoke detector giving a last protest before it switched to battery power. A split second later, all the lights went out. That’s right – no power. No Internet, because our wireless modem was dead (I guess I could have plugged directly into the wall, but … oh well. Hindsight is 20/20, yes no?).

So, that little incident scrapped our plans for dinner. I was going to be all thrifty and flexible and scrounge up a dinner that involved canned beans and little else, but Peter was aghast at that idea and convinced me that we should order takeout instead. Foodie Peter 1, Thrifty Jessie 0.

So we ordered delicious takeout from one of our favorite restaurants: Char Koon. Reader, I enjoyed it.

So today, I finally get to share my recipe with you. Let go over a few images from the day first.

An easy snack: sharp cheddar and kumato with a drizzle of basil pesto:

The new cleaver that Peter is working on:

(I realize that this picture looks rather suspicious. That color is from the dye Peter uses to mark the knife, I swear.)

Peter has often joked that Maddie doesn’t look like the most intelligent dog. I always defend her, but when she photographs like this …

In addition to my recipe, Peter decided to smoke a few cuts of meat. A Maddie-eyed view of the smoker:

Let’s get to the recipe!

Hazelnut and Panko Crusted Mahi Mahi
Serves 4

1 lb mahi mahi (any white fish will do)
2 tbsp pesto
2 tbsp nonfat yogurt
1/4 cup panko breadcrumbs (can find in the Asian food section of the supermarket)
Nuts of choice (I chose hazelnuts and, after some hesitation, macadamia nuts)

Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Place baking sheet in oven to warm. Meanwhile prepare the fish: spread pesto on one half of fish and yogurt on the other (you can also just chose one or the other). Sprinkle with panko.

Crush/chop nuts and press into the fish. I originally thought that I wasn’t going to use macadamia nuts because, c’mon, macadamia nut-crusted mahi mahi is SO cliche. Yet, these beauties were just begging to go on the mahi mahi, so I caved and used both hazelnuts and macadamia nuts.

I went with the same four quadrant technique I used for the Secret Apricot Passion Pudding, with pesto-macadamia nut, yogurt-macadamia nut, pesto-hazelnut, and yogurt hazelnut making up the four squares.

Bake fish for 10 minutes per inch, or until fish flakes with a fork (I usually like my fish a little underdone). Enjoy!

During our grocery shopping trip today, I saw these fun mushrooms and I knew I had to try them:

The top one is a wood ear mushroom and the bottom one is a morel (the same as I had at lunch on this day). Morels are pricey ($39.99/lb!), but 6 mushrooms cost about a dollar because they’re so light. These ain’t no white button mushrooms!

I decided to saute them in a little butter to preserve their natural flavor:

Verdict? The morels were tasty, just as I remembered – they have a mild, earthy taste. The wood ear, on the other hand … they just tasted BAD. I don’t even know how to describe them. Kind of like windshield washing fluid? Like how I would imagine windshield washing fluid to taste, of course.

Dinner was served with a side of steamed broccoli topped with a drizzle of balsamic dressing (with my last morel):

The fish was wonderful, though a little overdone. I think the yogurt-hazelnut combo was the best – the strong nuttiness of the hazelnut and the cool yogurt with the mild mahi mahi was lovely. The macadamias tasted like nothing, sadly.

What became of Peter’s smoked food, you ask? I’m not a big meat fan, but I do enjoy Peter’s smoked foods.  Let’s take a look at them.  (Adam, I apologize in advance – I don’t mean to deliberately torture you.)

Bacon-wrapped pork tenderloin:

Smoked ham:

Now thatsa tower a’meat. I tried a little of each, and they were pretty tasty 🙂 Rich and smoky.

After reading both Em‘s and Samantha‘s posts about loving foods now that they previously hated. I started thinking about how tastes change over time and how my own food preferences have changed. Hated shrimp, but now – YUM! Hated ginger, but now – how could I live without ginger?? However, there’s one one food that I’ve always hated and will probably never like …

Just looking at those pale green stalks makes me feel ill. Yeep. I’ve tried celery repeatedly over the years, but I think it may be time to give up. Sometimes, there are just foods you don’t like!

But, don’t let my anecdote stop you from trying new foods or old enemies! As you can probably tell, I love to try new foods. I myself am evidence of how tastes change over time – for example, when I was overhauling my diet several years back, I found that the healthier I ate, the more I craved healthier foods. Amazing how our bodies take care of us, isn’t it? 😀

(I’m trying to convince Peter that the more natural PB he eats, the more he’ll prefer natural PB over Skippy chock-full-of-trans-fats-and-HFCS, but as yet my gentle suggestions fall on deaf ears.)

So, I ask you now: Are there any foods that you hated as a child that you love (or still hate!) now? Do you find that the healthier you eat, the more you crave healthy foods? I’d be interested to hear your opinions, because people are so different!

Have a nice evening, everyone! 🙂


  1. Hey Jessie,
    Your recipes look delicous – never tried Mahi Mahi, but it sure does look good. And your doggie is just too cute!

  2. Guess who found her way to your website 🙂 What I’ve seen so far looks awesome, and so many interesting recipes I’ll have to look at later. Just wanted to say, those mushrooms that you called wood ear, I know them by the name of Mu-Err, my stepfather used them in his Chinese stir-fry when I was a kid, and they always had a subtle pleasant flavour. I think he soaked them in water for nearly a day before use, exchanging the water lots of times and rinsing them in the end. Hope that helps!

    1. Hey Sandi! I’ll bet those mushrooms taste great in a stir fry. I’ll have to try the soaking trick – maybe that’s why they didn’t taste very good?

  3. Love your snack of cheddar, kumato, and pesto. That looks great!!
    One food that I didn’t like as a child that I like now is brussel sprouts. Don’t get me wrong, I would eat them, but It would take me an hour to clear my plate. I LOVE brussel sprouts now! Yum!

  4. I’m so jealous that you have a smoker! Yum!

    I used to hate eggs, but now I love them! I find the more unhealthy I eat (i.e. a weekend of traveling) the more I crave healthy foods. The more I eat healthy the more I want to continue, though, yep!

  5. Your mahi mahi recipe sounds so good!

    I have definitely found that the healthier I eat, the more I crave healthy, natural food. I’ve also found that when I don’t eat a lot of white sugar, I crave it less – and just a bite or two of a rich dessert satisfies me. When I’m eating white sugar more regularly, I can really put back the desserts! Not good!

  6. That mahi mahi recipe sounds so unique and delicious! How cool to coat it with hazelnuts, yum!!

    And Andrew is currently droooooooling over Peter’s pork and ham. Men and their meat!! 😉

  7. haha, i was gonna ask you what you were doing tasting windshield washer fluid. wow girl, your dinners always look so good! i’m impressed that you guys have your own meat smoker, how cool is that?! i think they use that “wood ear” in this Chinese vegetarian dish. I’m not a big fan of them, the wood ear I mean, not the Chinese…teehee.

    i’ve always hated pork and still do. don’t know why. guess i’m just picky about my meats. hope you’re having a good evening 🙂

  8. The Mahi Mahi recipe looks delish…must try! I assume it would work on other light fish like tilapia??

    Hmmm…I used to HATE squash, and now I can’t get enough! That was a funny turn around. OH, and wine….haha 😉

    ALSO! I got your comment re: the tummy pooch! I have a question! Why is it that some people have it, and others don’t (aside from diet factors – I have friends I eat way healthier than, and they don’t have it!). And how do I get it to go away!? lol.

    1. It sure would! Also, I just emailed you Darryn 🙂

  9. I definitely agree that the healthier I eat, the more I crave healthy stuff and the opposite is of course true as well. Definitely makes me want to eat well. 🙂

    I actually can’t think of anything I used to hate the taste of growing up that now I love. My tastes have pretty much stayed the same, but then again I ate most anything growing up too. With the exception of things I still hate, like cottage cheese. But that is more a texture thing than anything.

    1. I actually don’t like cottage cheese much, either – but nothing will ever reconcile me to the vile weed known as celery :O

  10. Mmmm, smoked animal flesh. Only one week of lent remaining and then Allie and I will be having a meat-fest! That is funny about your woodear mushrooms. A while back I got adventurous and went foraging through the Chinese grocery store down the street for interesting Asian mushrooms. My search landed me with a big bag of woodears and they are disgusting! They have an almost crunchy texture (and yes, I reconstituted them) and a terrible flavor. I really think the issue for me is that I don’t like dried mushrooms. They have a funky texture compared to fresh shrooms and the flavors are just weird. Luckily the Chinese grocery down the street sells fresh shitakes and they are delicious! The price has doubled but they are still less than $5 a pound.

    1. You know, I kind I don’t like dried as much as fresh, either (except for porcinis – I’ve never found those fresh).

  11. Yay kumatoes! They come from Kingsville, Ontario which is in the county where I live.

    I totally want your mezzaluna.

    I’m drooling over that ham, myself. I love ham.

    1. Wow, you must be rolling in kumatoes!

  12. A couple years ago, I had macadamia nut crusted mahi mahi. Oh, it was DELISH!!! 😀

    Yeah, I used to hate avocado when I was a kid. I never even tried it until a few years ago. I also thought brussel sprouts were atrocious and never had them until a few years ago either – now both are at the top of my favorite foods list! Amazing how things change.

    And I love celery, too. I’ve always eaten it. Funny how some things are never appealing to us. Like, the thought of raw fish or clams and all that makes me ill. Blech. LOL

  13. Yum Yum Yum! I love these foods!! And I completely agree with you- the healthier I began to eat the more I craved those healthy foods. My palate has expanded exponentially the past few years. I love your adventurous foodie nature- I feel the same way!

  14. Celery is a food that I, too, will never learn to love. My tastes have changed SO MUCH since I started eating healthier. I used to hate tomatoes, avocadoes, etc. The list goes on and on and on. Now there are few vegetables that I dislike! And I’m always open to trying new ones.

    Your mahi mahi looks delicious. I’m going to have to bookmark this way of preparing it.

  15. I used to haaaaate bananas but now I love them and eat them almost every day. I found the texture very off putting. As I’ve grown up though I think their mushy sweetness is quite yummy!

  16. That fish recipe sounds incredible, and I’m always looking for new ways to make fish…thanks! I’m not a huge fan of celery either, but I find I can eat it topped with pb, lol. Too funny that you were also talking about food dislikes/likes changes! For me, it’s carrot cake. 😉 (I’ve seen the light and love it now.) I definitely notice that when I eat healthier my body craves healthy foods…and I noticed the more water I drink the more I crave it.

    1. I saw that about the carrot cake on your blog! 🙂 I’ve tried the celery with PB, with no success. Not even PB can make it taste good! 😉

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