Though Nick often jokes that I won his heart over through his stomach, it’s actually the other way around. That’s how he suckered me in! You see, when I first met Nick, he was quite the cook, always whipping up something new for dinner for 4 or 10 different friends.
I remember homemade Thai chicken pizzas, lots and LOTS of ribs (of course), roasted tomatoes with balsamic reduction, fried chicken wings, fried gator bites (thank God we lost the cord to the “Fry Daddy”). Nick even roasted a whole turkey on our first Thanksgiving together. I was kind of impressed. Apparently it was all just a trick to win me over, though, since all I get now is a steak thrown on the grill here and there!
Anyhow, a few weeks into our courtship (do people still use that word?), Nick decided that he wanted to make me a special meal. He had this sauce on a macadamia-crusted mahi at the Chart House restaurant in Daytona, and liked it so much that he asked the chef for the recipe. Then one day, he made it for me. And it was good. Really good. I was his.
We’ve made this sauce several times since then, though oddly not since I started the blog. I think we loved it so much, and made it so often, that we kind of OD’ed on it, and forgot about it. Though the fish varies each time (coconut crusted grouper, panko crusted shark…), the sauce is always the same. Sweet, smooth, dreamy.
So why did we suddenly decide to make the sauce again now? It all started with this…
Yes, another long holiday weekend meant we returned to Nick’s Dad’s house to rendezvous with our favorite Missouri residents.
We had a great a weekend and enjoyed everyone’s company. It was a crisp 90 degrees in October in Missouri. We enjoyed the boat and lake, but I have to say, pumpkin ale just doesn’t taste the same when it feels like the 4th of July!
The boys tore up the lake, catching about a dozen rainbow trout and a nice big bass. We froze the fish and took it home with us, a souvenir from the weekend! I don’t know where the craving came from, but as soon as I saw the bass, I knew the coconut sauce would be its fate.
Almond Crusted Bass with Warm Coconut Peanut Sauce
for the fish:
- 1 cup ground almonds (use a food processor)
- 1 cup breadcrumbs
- salt & pepper, to taste
- 2 eggs, lightly beaten
- 4-6 bass fillets (or any white fish)
for the sauce:
- 2 tbsp peanut butter
- 1 (15 oz) can cream of coconut (like Coco Lopez, usually in the cocktail mixers aisle)
- 1/3 cup teriyaki sauce
- 1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
- dash cumin
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a bowl, combine ground almonds and breadcrumbs.
Beat eggs in another bowl. Dip the fish fillets in egg, then in breadcrumb mixture. Place on a baking sheet covered in parchment paper or a silpat.
Bake about 20-25 minutes, depending on size of fillets, until fish is just cooked through and crumbs are lightly browned.
Meanwhile, prepare the sauce.
Melt the peanut butter in a small saucepot over medium heat, stirring frequently. Add the rest of the ingredients, and bring to a simmer, stirring frequently. Simmer about 20 minutes, until sauce thickens slightly. Keep a close eye on the sauce. If it starts boiling, it’ll boil over in seconds, and it won’t be a fun clean-up!
Serve the fish with the sauce drizzled over top.
You’ll probably want to drown your rice and veggies, too. There will be leftover sauce. Put it on your cereal.
Anyone have any suggestions for trout?