Huachinango A La Talla

Global EAT - Huachinango A La Talla
A specialty in the palapas (palm-roofed beach restaurants) of Barra Vista, Acapulco. (S. Palazuelos)

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.

Serves: 4


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
1/3 onion
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


  1. 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.
  2. In a bowl, combine mayonnaise, lime juice, salt and pepper. Rub the fish with the mixture and marinate at room temperature for 20 minutes.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.