Recipe: Billy Tserenbat’s Baja Red Snapper

Baja Red Snapper

Baja Red Snapper // Photo by Wing Ta

Ingredients

  • 1 whole snapper
  • Clarified butter
  • Baja fish spice (recipe below)
  • Citrus wedges (lemon, lime, orange and/or grapefruit)
  • Pasilla mole (recipe below)
  • Guajillo sauce (recipe below)
  • Pumpkin seeds, toasted
  • Pineapple salsa (add some chopped grilled pineapple to a basic pico de gallo)
  • Chili threads
  • Lemon oil

Directions

Butterfly the whole fish, keeping the tail on and the backbone in tact. Trim the backbone as close to the skin as possible (or have your fishmonger prepare it.)

Heat a large cast iron pan with clarified butter, and season the skin side of the snapper with the fish spice. Add the snapper skin side down and cook for 2 minutes. Toss in a wedge of lemon, lime, orange, and grapefruit into the pan. Lightly season the flesh side with the fish spice. Then add a bit of the coconut butter on top (recipe below) and finish in the oven for 5 minutes at 350 degrees.

After the fish is cooked gently, start to plate. First, add large swipes of pasilla mole and guajillo sauce to the plate, then the snapper and roasted citrus, topping with toasted pumpkin seeds, pineapple salsa, chili threads, and lemon oil.

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Baja Fish Spice

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon whole coriander
  • 1 teaspoon whole cumin
  • 1 tablespoon Mexican oregano
  • 1/4 cup sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons Tajín Clásico Seasoning

Directions

Toast the coriander and cumin until aromatic, and blend them in spice grinder, and mix with the rest of the ingredients.

Coconut Chili Butter

Ingredients

  • 1 pound whole butter, softened
  • 2 limes, juice and zest
  • 1 tablespoon red chili flakes
  • 1 tablespoon finely ground ancho chiles
  • 1 tablespoon sea salt
  • 3½ ounces coconut milk

Pasilla Mole

Ingredients

  • 3 pounds tomatoes
  • 2 yellow onions (rough chopped)
  • 8 cloves whole garlic
  • 12 pasilla chilis
  • 6 allspice berries
  • 6 whole cloves
  • 1 tablespoon annatto seeds
  • 2 teaspoons Mexican oregano
  • 2 teaspoons whole cumin
  • ¼ can chipotle chilies
  • 1¼ cups pumpkin seeds
  • 1¼ cups almonds
  • 2 tablespoons white vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons agave nectar

Directions

Toss onions, tomatoes, and garlic in oil and salt. Roast in oven for 45 minutes at 400 degrees. Remove the stems from the dried chilies and boil in water for 30 minutes. Toast the dry spices and reserve. Toast the pumpkin seeds and almonds and reserve. Blend all ingredients together ensuring that there are no large chunks.

Guajillo Sauce

Ingredients

  • 20 dried guajillo peppers
  • 1 quart water
  • 4 teaspoons salt
  • 4 garlic cloves

Directions

Put everything in pot and boil for 10 to 20 minutes. Put the solids in blender with some water, and blend until very smooth. Strain through a fine china cap.