Golden Girl Granola Crusted Mahi Pasta Appetizers

Every once in while, I get inspired to create recipes from unexpected ingredients.  This was no exception.  My challenge…create an appetizer using granola.  Yes, granola…the yummy mix of oats, honey, nuts, and any mix of flavorful ingredients.  Yes, granola…the breakfast food that I eat in a big bowl with milk.  Yes, granola…the portable snack mix that I sprinkle over my yogurt.  Yes, granola…I decided to make an appetizer, a savory appetizer, using granola.

After tasting Golden Girl Truly Tropical Granola, I knew that I needed to stick to my roots and think tropically, and there’s no better protein for a tropical appetizer (in my opinion) than mahi.   However, I couldn’t just throw granola on my mahi and call it an appetizer. No, my appetizer had to be small, portable, and a perfect beginning to a dinner or party. After falling in love with pasta as a smaller portion appetizer during a summer cruise, the idea of pairing an unexpected ingredient with an nontraditional appetizer seemed fitting.

The end result… a Golden Girl Truly Tropical Granola Crusted Mahi Bite perched atop a small cup of Spicy Jalapeno Pasta Carbonara.  The light crunch of the mahi paired perfectly with the creaminess of the pasta and the sweetness of the granola’s dried mango and coconut complimented the pasta’s smokey spice from the bacon and jalapeno.

Golden Girl Truly Tropical Mahi Pasta Appetizers

4-4 oz. mahi filets-skin removed and cut into small bite size (2″) chunks
1/4 c. melted butter
couple of dashes tobasco
1 tsp salt
2 c. Golden Girl Truly Tropical Granola
1/4 c. bread crumbs
1/2 lb. spaghetti–cooked according to package directions and 1 c. pasta water reserved
1/2 lb. bacon
1 jalapeno-seeds & membranes removed and minced
1 garlic clove-minced
2 TBSP grated onion
3 large eggs
1 c. Parmesan cheese

Pulse granola in a food processor until it resembles a rough crumble.  Transfer to a cake pan or pie plate and stir in bread crumbs. In a large bowl, combine melted butter, tobasco, and salt.  Dip mahi bites into melted butter mixture and then, dredge in granola mixture, pressing the granola onto all sides.  Place on a parchment lined cookie sheet. Bake at 425 degrees for 7-10 minutes or until mahi is firm and opaque.  Set aside while pasta finishes.

Meanwhile, in a large skillet, fry bacon until crisp.  Remove from heat and drain on a paper towel.  Chop bacon and set aside.

Saute onion, garlic, and jalapeno over medium heat in the bacon drippings until tender, approximately 5 minutes stirring constantly to prevent burning the garlic.

As veggies soften, stir in cooked pasta.  Toss pasta to completely coat with bacon fat and veggies.  In small bowl, whisk together eggs, 1/2 c. Parmesan cheese, and 2 TBSP pasta water.

Over low heat,  pour egg mixture over pasta and toss with tongs to coat.  Add remaining pasta water in small batches until the hot pasta and eggs form a sauce.  Sprinkle with chopped bacon and remaining Parmesan cheese.  If pasta begins to look too thick, add a little more water and toss pasta with tongs.

Using small bowls or ramekins (for parties), twirl a tong full of pasta in each cup.  Place one  or two mahi bites on top.  Serve warm.

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