Mexican Grilled Red Snapper (Huachinango A La Talla)
Recipe Courtesy: Susanna Palazuelos
Fish grilled in this manner is a specialty in the palapas (palm-roofed beach restaurants) of Barra Vista, on the outskirts of Acapulco. It is grilled on a wood-fired stove made of clay.
1 red snapper, about 5 lbs (2.5 kg)
5 tbsp mayonnaise
2 tbsp lime juice
1 tbsp salt
¼ tsp freshly ground pepper
½ cup (4 oz/125 g) butter, melted
10 chiles guajillos, seeds and membranes removed
5 chiles anchos, seeds and membranes removed
1 cup (8 fl oz/250 ml) water
4 tomatoes, peeled and seeded
4 cloves garlic
1 tbsp white vinegar
3 whole cloves
½ tsp each dried oregano, thyme and marjoram
½ tsp ground cumin
2 tbsp (1 oz/30 g) butter
2 tbsp oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper
- Have your fish dealer slice the fish open to prepare a “butterfly” cut; remove the gills and intestines from the fish, but leave the scales. Rinse the fish and pat dry.
- In a bowl, combine mayonnaise, lime juice, salt and pepper. Rub the fish with the mixture and marinate at room temperature for 20 minutes.
- To prepare the sauce, soak the chiles in hot water to cover for 10 minutes. Drain, transfer to a blender and puree with the water, tomatoes, garlic, vinegar, cloves, onion, oregano, thyme, marjoram and cumin until smooth.
- Heat the butter and oil in a small saucepan and add the pureed chiles. When the puree comes to a boil, lower the heat and cook for 20 minutes or until the sauce thickens. Add slat and pepper to taste. Let it cool to room temperature.
- Preheat an outdoor grill and lightly grease the rack. Position the rack about 8 in (20 cm) over a charcoal fire. Place the opened fish, scales side down, on the rack and grill for 15 – 20 minutes, basting regularly with the sauce. Turn the fish over, baste with the melted butter and grill for 10 – 15 minutes or until the fish is cooked.