So we did tons and tons of really cool stuff in Maui (snorkling! waterfalls! convertible! volcanic craters! infinity pool!), but one of the coolest things we did was visit this little hippie town on the north side of the island called Pa’ia. (I kept calling it “paella,” like the Spanish dish, but apparently it’s pronounced “pie-EE-uh”).
Pa’ia had all these funky shops and boutiques, a really cool organic foods market, and a beautiful bay with gorgeous views and almost no people there. Except for Franco, who talked to us for about half an hour, took our picture, and told us about what it meant to have “Aloha in your heart.” Have you ever been to Boulder, Colorado? Pa’ia is like that, only much smaller and with amazing ocean views.
My other favorite thing about Pa’ia was the Pa’ia Fish Market. If you get a chance, you should absolutely go. It’s kinda dingy, kinda dive-y, and you have to sit at big long picnic tables with other diners, but the fish and chips we had there were absolutely incredible. Perfectly fried, perfectly seasoned, and the fish tasted like it was caught earlier that morning (and probably was!).
When I got home, I was still craving fish — but with a healthier twist. This tilapia was not as delicious as the fish and chips in Pa’ia (sorry!), but it’s a lot healthier and has a really tasty almond-parmesan coating. Plus, you don’t have to fly across an ocean to get it!
ALMOND-CRUSTED TILAPIA WITH VEGGIES (recipe from Bev Cooks, via Tablespoon)
4 tilapia fillets
1/2 cup almonds
1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
1/4 cup flour
1 egg, beaten
1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
1 tsp oregano
2 tbsp butter
1 zucchini, sliced and quartered
1/2 red bell pepper, sliced
1/2 cup cherry tomatoes
1 tbsp olive oil
juice of 1 lemon
1. Prepare three shallow dishes or pie plates on kitchen counter. Pulse almonds in food processor until finely ground. In shallow dish, combine ground almonds, panko, parmesan cheese, oregano, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Place flour in another shallow dish and beaten egg in third dish.
2. Heat olive oil in medium skillet and sauté zucchini, tomatoes, and red pepper until slightly wilted and crisp-tender, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Remove from skillet and set aside.
3. Heat butter in same skillet. Season each fillet with salt and pepper and dredge them lightly through flour, shaking off excess. Dip fillets in egg mixture, then finally into almond/panko mixture. Press coating on both sides of fish.
4. Sear fish in butter until browned and cooked through, 4-5 minutes per side. Continue with remaining fillets.
5. Serve fish with veggies, sprinkled with lemon juice.