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Walnut Crusted Crispy Mahi Mahi :: Kid Friendly and Gluten Free!

September 5, 2018

Quick, kid friendly, and gluten free, walnut crusted crispy mahi mahi is perfect for dinner any night of the week!

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Simple.

That’s the way we’re keeping life around here these days. My girls are all back to school, and anyone that has ever had a brand new pre-K or Kinder kiddo in the house knows that after school melt downs can be a very real thing. Since this is my third time around this block, I was prepared long before my fresh new pre-K sweetheart set foot in that classroom last Monday, and I planned out our menu that week accordingly.

Yummy flavor, minimal work.

Because that sweet little wee one in the picture above has needed some downtime after her exciting days of pre-K! She *big puffy heart* loves fish of any kind, so I just knew I had to plan that into our first week back to school. This minimal ingredient, and minimal hands on time crispy fish is always a favorite. After she ate 2 helpings, she was a complete chatter box telling me about all her exciting school time adventures!

Crispy fish method

I don’t take that whole “minimal work” thing lightly. Just a few ingredients into a bowl to “bread” the fish and then crisp it up in a skillet. Finish the cooking in the oven and it’s done. The key to the crispy outside lies in a few things:

  1. The right flour. Walnuts are pretty oily when you blend them up, so adding another flour to the ground walnuts makes up for the oily walnuts and gets the outside of the fish really crispy. White rice flour is one of my favorites because it is cost effective and nice a dry – which makes a nice crispy outside. But if you are true Paleo/grain free or do not tolerate white rice flour, you can use coconut flour which works to crisp things up just as good.
  2. The right oil. I feel like avocado oil or animal fat such as pastured tallow or lard makes anything crisp up the best. Butter and olive oil tend to make things softer. Also, scalding olive oil in the kind of heat you need for a crispy fish, can make it taste bad. Coconut oil will work just fine as well, but you will have the coconut taste there (which is fine if that doesn’t bother you!).
  3. And a super hot skillet. Big time cast iron skillet fan here, but if you don’t have one, a regular skillet will work just fine. Just don’t crowd the pan! If your skillet is smaller like mine, do the crisping up in batches so the temperature of the skillet stays hot.

Fish sourcing

We started finding the wild caught Mahi Mahi at Costco a year or so ago – I’m so thankful they now carry it along with wild caught salmon and cod so we can keep some variety to our fish night menu rotation. We also have a couple of local fish mongers that carry wild caught fish. Look around where you live – even our local grocer now keeps a selection of wild caught fish. To read more about why wild caught fish is more superior to farmed, visit www.eatwild.com.

Can I use other fish?

Sure! Wild caught cod is more fragile, so just handle it carefully – it also cooks a bit faster so back off the time. Smaller pieces might work better in the pan so it doesn’t fall apart, since cod is very delicate. Salmon works fine too if you have access to wild caught.

Side dish ideas

This part can really throw off your plans for a “quick and minimal work” dinner! Just keep it simple. My older girls are big time salad lovers. While my youngest will tolerate them, I ended up roasting her some sweet potatoes and serving buttered peas with them. Again, super minimal hands on work, and the sweet potatoes can roast right alongside the cooking fish. Here are some other ideas:

  • Mashed sweet potatoes
  • Steamed mixed veggies
  • Salads (here is a great Olive Garden salad dressing, and Ranch too!)
  • Roasted potatoes (you can roast other veggies like broccoli right alongside these too)
  • Squash (my kids’ favorite side – Instant Pot or roast it and blend with butter – keep it simple)
  • Bone broth cooked rice with veggies. This is so simple to do with those frozen mixed veggies – just pop the veggies right in with the cooking rice and top it all with butter.

Well fed, *and* well nourished

Because it is in fact possible to be fed and still not feel well and energized. My biggest goal when thinking about feeding children is making every bite they take count. Man, those school days can be long and exhausting. It is so important to snuggle them close, and let them unload from the day, but it doesn’t mean you have to compromise on re-fueling them if time to cook is short. Replenishing their little bodies can be as easy as a simple fish dinner, bowl of soup, or omelet. It can be fast prep, and nutrient loaded for their ever growing bodies. Happy school year to you!

5.0 from 18 reviews
Walnut Crusted Crispy Mahi Mahi :: Kid Friendly and Gluten Free!
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • 1 cup walnuts, finely chopped (I buzz mine up in a food processor into a “meal”)
  • ½ cup white rice flour (or coconut flour if you are grain free/Paleo)
  • 2 tsp smoked paprika (optional but lovely color and flavor)
  • 1-2 eggs, whisked
  • 4 wild caught Mahi Mahi fillets
  • Sea salt/pepper to taste
  • ¼ -1/3 cup avocado oil for the skillet (enough to completely cover your skillet generously)
  • Lemons and parsley to garnish if you choose.
Instructions
  1. Pre-heat the oven to 450 degrees.
  2. Combine the walnut “meal,” rice flour, and paprika in a shallow dish or plate. Set up the whisked egg in a bowl next to the walnut mixture and a clean plate for your coated fish at the end.
  3. Coat the Mahi Mahi in the whisked egg, and then the walnut/flour mixture on all sides. Place the coated fish on a clean plate while you finish coating the rest of the fish. Sprinkle the tops of the coated fish with sea salt and pepper to your taste.
  4. Heat the avocado oil in a skillet over medium/high heat. When the oil is hot, place 2 of walnut crusted Mahi Mahi fillets in the skillet and cook for 2-3 minutes ON EACH SIDE until the outside of the fish is golden brown. The less you move the fish around the crispier they will get – I even set a timer for about 3 minutes so I am not tempted to peek! When those 2 fillets finish cooking, place them on a baking sheet while you cook the other 2 fillets. You can cook all 4 in the skillet if your skillet is large enough, but do not over crowd them. I think the fish gets crispier using a cast iron skillet, and mine is smaller so I just do 2 at a time.
  5. Place the baking sheet with the crusted fish into a 450 degree oven for 10 minutes to finish cooking the middle. Garnish with lemons and parsley if you choose.

 

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20 Comments

  • Reply Christina Shoemaker September 10, 2018 at 10:28 am

    I love your tips for getting it nice and crispy! I haven’t worked much with walnuts so I need to give this a try. My son would absolutely be a fan!

  • Reply Lindsey Dietz September 10, 2018 at 10:46 am

    I would fry mine in lard! Love adding the white rice flour to the walnuts to make a crispy coating. So smart!

  • Reply Anne September 10, 2018 at 11:39 am

    I love this recipe! It looks so crispy. I love the idea of rice flour.

  • Reply Tessa Simpson September 10, 2018 at 12:47 pm

    Love that crispy coating!! My kids always pick breading off…isn’t that weird?! Eager to try a nut coating like this!

  • Reply Emily @ Recipes to Nourish September 10, 2018 at 12:51 pm

    Oh Renee, that precious photo melted my heart. It’s been so fun to watch her grow over the years. You’re such a wonderful mom – making a nutrient-dense meal like this that you know she would love. This crust is amazing! I don’t think I’ve ever had mahi mahi before (I usually can only find cod and salmon), I’ll have to look for some.

  • Reply Joni Gomes September 10, 2018 at 3:06 pm

    Love the batter on this fish! I live in Florida so we eat a lot of fresh, wild-caught fish around here. I will definitely try this recipe.

  • Reply Jean September 10, 2018 at 5:37 pm

    I absolutely love nut crusted fish, and this looks so crispy and delicious! So perfect when you are looking for an easy weeknight dinner.

  • Reply linda spiker September 10, 2018 at 5:44 pm

    Yum! We just got back from Hawaii so I am all about nut crusted fish! This looks just perfect!

  • Reply Annemarie September 10, 2018 at 6:12 pm

    I’m always looking for new ways to prepare fish. I bet my family would love that crispy crust!

  • Reply yang September 10, 2018 at 7:09 pm

    Totally yummy! The only way to get my kids eat fish is to make them into “fish fingers”. I am going to give this a try!

  • Reply Megan Stevens September 10, 2018 at 11:11 pm

    I am impressed with this beautiful coating (I love walnuts so much!), and that your daughter ate 2 helpings and then became talkative about her day, how sweet! So do you buy fresh fish at Costco, or frozen and then defrosted? Thanks, Renee, such a lovely fish dinner!

  • Reply Kari - Get Inspired Everyday! September 12, 2018 at 5:34 pm

    Wow, this looks incredible and maybe just the way to get my husband to eat fish! Also I can never turn down anything with smoked paprika, so good!

  • Reply Becky Winkler September 14, 2018 at 10:04 am

    This looks so good, and I have some mahi mahi in the freezer that I’ve been trying to decide what to do with! Now I have my answer.

  • Reply ChihYu Smith September 14, 2018 at 10:23 pm

    I love a good fish recipe and can’t wait to make this one!

  • Reply Melissa @Real Nutritious Living September 15, 2018 at 11:42 am

    I’ve been looking for a healthy fish fry recipe for some time. I am so excited to try this!

  • Reply Jessica September 15, 2018 at 7:56 pm

    Probably a stupid question, but does mahi mahi have a ‘fishy’ taste? I want to eat more fish for the nutrition, but I just don’t like the taste… Does mahi mahi have a similar flavor to tilapia (mild), or is it more of a strong fishy-flavor like salmon?

  • Reply Kathryn September 16, 2018 at 4:46 pm

    Wow, this crusted fish looks amazing! We seem to do a lot of cod and salmon in our house, but I’m excited to branch out and try this dish!

  • Reply Carol Little R.H. @studiobotanica September 16, 2018 at 9:25 pm

    We are definite ‘fish fans’ in my home. Wild caught is always my ‘go to’ and I don’t recall the last time I bought anything else.
    Love pickerel, lake trout, salmon, cod especially. I have never seen mahi mahi for sale but will check Costco -thanks.
    I usually keep it very simple but am inspired to try your walnut crust! Looks + sounds delicious!!

  • Reply Donna September 17, 2018 at 5:39 am

    Just printed this making it for dinner tonight! What a gorgeous looking recipe!

  • Reply Darryl September 17, 2018 at 11:44 am

    This is making me feel really hungry plus it’s gluten free too which is what I need, thank you!

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