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About Chef David Sterling
 

  Pescado en Tikin-xik Download PDF

 

Pescado en Tikin-xik
GRILLED ACHIOTE-MARINATED FISH

ALONG WITH POLLO PIBIL AND COCHINITA PIBIL, this dish has its roots deep in the Maya past. All share the recado rojo – an intensely flavored spice paste made of achiote seeds and the juice of the naranja agria– and all are typically cooked either in or on top of banana leaves. Tikin in Mayan means “dry” and xik means “wing.” This simply refers to the way the fish is typically prepared, which is to butterfly a whole fish and spread it open. Unlike the pibil dishes, however, tikin-xik is not cooked in a pit, but rather over a wood or charcoal fire. This particular version has been influenced by the Mediterranean cooking styles of Veracruz.
 
10 servings

• 8 Tbs. (120ml) Recado Rojo (achiote paste, available in Latin markets)
• 8 Tbs. (120ml) juice of naranja agria (Also known as sour orange or Seville orange. Substitute: 2 parts fresh lime juice, 1 part each fresh orange juice and grapefruit juice)
• 2 Tbs. (30ml) Spanish olive oil
 
STEP 1  DISSOLVE THE RECADO ROJO in the juice. Use more juice if necessary to achieve the consistency of thick cream. Add oil and stir to blend.

• 4 large cloves garlic, peeled and roasted in a comal or heavy skillet
• 2 tsps. (6g) peppercorns
• 2 tsps. (14g) sea salt
• 1 Tbs. (15ml) orégano Yucateco, toasted and crumbled (Substitute: Mexican oregano)
 
STEP 2  COARSELY CRUSH THE ROASTED GARLIC with peppercorns, sea salt and toasted orégano in a molcajete or mortar and pestle. Add mixture to recado rojo and stir until blended. NOTE: If you are using homemade recado, you may omit this step.

• 6 lbs. (2.75k) snapper (huachinango), grouper (mero) or porgy (pargo), cleaned and butterflied
 
STEP 3  PLACE THE FISH SKIN-SIDE DOWN in a large dish; apply the marinade and coat the entire fish thoroughly. Cover and refrigerate at least 1 hour but no more than 4 hours.

• Large banana leaves
• 2 Tbs. (30ml) Spanish olive oil
 
STEP 4  REMOVE THICK CENTER SPINES from banana leaves and discard. On a removable roasting rack, place a layer of banana leaves. Brush them with olive oil to prevent sticking. Put the marinated fish skin-side down and open, leaving enough overlap of banana leaves so that you will be able to wrap and completely cover the fish. Top with any remaining marinade.

• 3 chile x’catic (Substitute: Anaheim, banana pepper), charred, peeled, seeded and sliced lengthwise
• 1 green bell pepper, thinly sliced
• 1/2 white onion, thinly sliced
• 2 large Roma tomatoes, thinly sliced
• 15 stuffed green olives, thinly sliced
• 1 Tbs. (15ml) small capers
• 5 bay leaves
• Several sprigs epazote
• 1/4 cup (75ml) dry white wine

STEP 5  DECORATE THE FISH with the vegetables; finish with the bay leaves and epazote. Sprinkle the wine on the fish and wrap the leaves over the top of the fish to cover thoroughly but loosely.

STEP 6  GRILL OVER CHARCOAL, turning once, for approximately 20 minutes, or until firm. To serve, place entire package on a serving platter; cut open banana leaves to reveal fish, and garnish with wedges of sour orange if desired. Serve with Cebollas Encurtidas and Chile Tamulado.

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