Tuesday, August 25, 2009

My heart is in Hawaii

I am basking in the remembrance of plumeria blossoms, the softness of tropical air and pastel sands and ocean waves foaming over my feet. Those early morning walks in Hawaii were just the beginning of long days filled with stimulation and growth at the best writers conference of all.

The enthusiasm in Deb's voice as she notified me of her enrollment in the upcoming Hawaii Writers Conference over the Labor Day weekend in Honolulu reminded me of my own seven years in a row of being a presenter there.

Conference co-founders John and Shannon Tullius are the most generous of leaders, taking care to fill every attendee with feelings of welcome, expansiveness and ohana (family).

I will always be grateful for the spirit of inclusiveness that led to finding my literary agent, polishing my romantic memoir (purchased by Lifetime for a movie-of-the-week) and becoming a co-author of my second Chicken Soup for the Soul title. Here I am with Jack Canfield at our book signing there:

If you are an aspiring writer, I encourage you to sign up right now.

Almost every day at the Conference we would make our way over to Longhi's restaurant for a serving of Opakapaka with Grapes. Now, still on my stay-cation in Corona del Mar (meaning that I am home but hardly working), the sight of sun-drenched green seedless grapes on Saturday at our local farmers market called to me to recreate the one recipe from Hawaii that most brings the flavors of Hawaii home.

My heart and my plate are filled with Aloha!


In adapting this recipe from Longhi's: Recipes and Reflections from Maui's Most Opinionated Restauranteur, I doubled the sauce amount (I love lots of sauce!) and used red snapper from our California coastline instead of Opakapaka, the species of pink snapper found in the tropical islands of Hawaii.

1 pound snapper (or other fish of your choice), cut into two pieces
Sea salt
1/4 cup flour (I prefer Wondra for coating fish)
3 tablespoons butter, for sauteeing, plus
5 tablespoons chilled butter, cut in pieces, for the sauce
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup white wine or dry Vermouth
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 to 2 tabelspoons cream
3/4 cup of green seedless grapes (cut in half lengthwise if large)
2 teaspoons snipped fresh chives or garlic chives, or parsley

Rinse fish and pat dry with paper towels. Lightly flour it on both sides.
In a skillet over medium heat heat the butter and olive oil until foamy; add the fish. Saute 3 to 4 minutes, then turn and saute on the second side for 3 to 4 more minutes. Remove form the pan and keep warm while you make the sauce.

Pour the wine and lemon juice into the pan drippings, scraping up any brown bits, and simmer the liquid over high heat until it is reduced to about 3/4 cup. Reduce heat to medium and whisk in the cold butter, a tablespoon or so at a time, until the liquid emulsifies into a sauce consistency. Remove from heat and stir in the cream, which will stabilize the sauce and keep it from separating.

Season to taste with salt. Add the grapes and chives or parsley. Pour sauce over servings of fish on warm serving plates.


  1. This sounds spectacular Diana. I'll surely make this for Tom and serve it out back under our plumeria tree! :-)

  2. Hope you like it as much as we do. I love all the variations of beurre blanc sauces, and learned at the CIA to add a little cream so the sauce can be kept warm for a while.

  3. the conference sounds oh so wonderful! Wish I could come along. Have a wonderful time!