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Oceana Magazine Fall 2008: Chef's Corner: Greg Knize

Duke's Malibu is named for Duke Kahanamoku, a genteel Hawaiian credited with popularizing surfing in the early 20th century. These days, the restaurant still honors Duke's legacy with its Hawaiian-infused dishes.

Duke's Malibu serves fresh fish with a tropical flair, and for years focused on classic Hawaiian fish such as opaka and onaga, or red snapper. In recent years, however, chef Greg Knize has shifted his focus to sustainable seafood as the traditional fish became susceptible to overfishing.

"We just decided we needed to look into this, because the future is here," Knize said. "We started digging in our menu and taking it seriously."

Duke's still appeals to the Hawaiian palate with a menu dominated by passionfruit, pineapple and other tropical flavors. But instead of serving overfished species, Knize cooks with Pacific halibut, mahi mahi and other sustainable options.

Parmesan Herb Crusted Pacific Halibut

Ingredients

6 Pacific halibut filets, 7 oz. each
1 cup panko (Japanese breadcrumbs found in Asian
section of most grocery stores)
½ cup shredded Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons finely shredded fresh basil
1 tablespoon finely chopped parsley
2 teaspoons minced fresh thyme
2 teaspoons minced garlic
¾ teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon ground white pepper
3 tablespoons medium-fine diced macadamia nuts
¼ cup olive oil

Buerre Blanc Ingredients

2 tablespoons finely minced shallots
2 tablespoons white wine
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon cream
½ cup unsalted butter, room temperature
Salt, pepper to taste
2 tablespoons capers, drained and rinsed
under running water

Preparation

For the Parmesan herb breading, combine in a bowl the panko, shredded Parmesan, basil, parsley, thyme, salt, pepper, garlic and macadamia nuts. Mix thoroughly. This breading, if kept in a tightly closed container in the refrigerator, will keep up to five days.

Press both sides of each piece of fish firmly in the crumb mixture using your hands to help the crumbs adhere. Heat ¼ cup olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat, add the breaded pieces of fish and sauté until golden brown and just cooked in the center.

Capers may be sprinkled over the fish and into the sauce.

Beurre Blanc

Put the minced shallots, white wine and lemon juice in an 8 inch sauté pan. Bring the mixture to a boil and reduce on high heat until the liquid is almost completely evaporated and becomes syrupy. Add the cream and reduce again. While the liquid is reducing, cut the butter into small pieces.

When the shallot mixture is fully reduced, take the pan off the heat and let cool slightly, then return the pan to very gentle heat. Add two pieces of butter to the pan and whisk until the butter melts. Look for wisps of gentle steam coming off the surface of the sauce indicating that the heat is high enough for the butterfat to properly emulsify. If the butter begins to separate, the heat is too high. Take the pan off the heat and whisk in a few pieces of butter until it is incorporated into the thick, creamy sauce. Season with salt and pepper.

Serve the halibut on top of the beurre blanc.