My friends, this winter has been a doozy. The snow and the sleet and the brrrrr and the sub-zero wind chills have really gotten to me, and left me huddled under my fleece blanket on the couch with my cat, too offended by the weather ickiness to face the world. The strength, thoughtfulness, and creativity that would normally be channeled into writing tantalizingly delicious blog posts were instead redirected to more important things… like, you know, regulating my body temperature, and figuring out how to wrap my scarf so the least amount of my face showed as possible. Which is why even though I wanted to tell you about this most amazing dukkah recipe WEEKS ago, I simply couldn’t. But now that it is March, I have decided it is time to dig out, literally and metaphorically, and so I finally present to you your new favorite dish: dukkah.
What is this “dukkah” you speak of, you ask? Why, only the most damn-delicious spicy nutty topping ever to grace a filet of fish (or pork… or chicken…) Once again my trusty Moosewood Cookbook did not disappoint, and this Middle-Eastern concoction has quickly become my go-to for livening up many a protein dish. It’s quite adaptable to whatever nuts you have on hand and super quick to throw together. It is somehow light enough for summer and hearty enough for winter. It might just be magic.
Dukkah-Crusted Fish with Almond Red Pepper Sauce
Adapted from Moosewood Restaurant Favorites
Time: 35-45 minutes (active time: 15 minutes) Serves: 4
- 1.5 lbs firm fish, whatever kind you like
- 1 T olive oil
- 2 T fresh lemon juice
- 1/3 cup almonds
- 1/3 cup sesame seeds
- 1/3 cup other nut, such as hazelnut, walnut, or pecan
- 1 T ground cumin
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 T dried thyme or 1 T fresh thyme
- 1 roasted red pepper (either roast it yourself or use jarred)
- 1 T almond butter*
*no almond butter? Any nut butter or tahini will work!
Drizzle olive oil and lemon juice over fish and let sit in a baking dish or ziplock bag while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.
In a food processor, coarsely grind the two types of nuts (almond + 1 other nut). Add in sesame seeds and remaining spices, and pulse until well-mixed.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spray a baking pan with non-stick cooking spray, or line the pan with parchment paper.
Remove fish from marinade and place in the baking pan. Spoon the dukkah onto each fillet, evenly dividing it, and press it into the fish on the top side only. (Don’t coat both sides – the bottom will get soggy). Your fingers will probably get dukkah’d as well. Bake the fish for 20-30 minutes, depending on the fish.
While the fish is baking, whip up the almond red pepper sauce. In the same food processor (no need to clean it!), blend the roasted red pepper with the almond butter. This sauce is so yummy, and goes well on pasta, veggies, meat – you name it. Or, you know, you could just eat it with a spoon.
When the fish flakes easily with a fork, remove from the oven and divide between 4 plates. Scrape off the dukkah that fell off the fish and serve that up too – trust me. Top with a dollop of red pepper sauce, and enjoy!
Looking for a side dish? Keep the Middle-Eastern theme going and try my Cauliflower Tabbouleh!
Note: this does not make for good leftovers – the dukkah gets a bit soggy when not fresh. But you can easily make the dukkah and pepper sauce ahead of time, making this a quick and easy week night dish!