I don`t know about you but I`ve had a great summer! Full of BBQ`s, burgers, dogs, ribs, potato & pasta salads, too many chips & dip & a lot of cold cervesa. Alright, maybe a bit too much of all the above. And, guess what, the holiday season is just around the corner. I`ve got to be real here, I`m getting older & the weight doesn`t come off quite as easy as it once did. I need to watch it a little & get back into a bit of a more normal routine of exercise & diet. Cut back on all the carbs I love, add some more lean protein & eat a few more fruits & vegetables. Leaning towards too healthy but healthy does not have to mean bland or if it does I`m gonna to fail miserably.
Yep, I don`t do bland & boring very well so with this thought in mind what I have for you today is Simple Yucatecan Achiote Fish. (Low carb, high in protein, low calorie, gluten & dairy free it totally fits the bill & more) Are you familiar with Yucatecan fare, from the Yucatan peninsula this cuisine differs from a lot of other Mexican food. Rooted from the native Maya people & crossed with many of the conquerors who passed through there are many dishes & ingredients particular to the area. Achiote paste is one of those. It`s derived from a hard seed Annotto which is then typically ground with a blend of spices such as garlic cloves, oregano, cumin, cloves, cilantro seeds black pepper, all spice & salt. Most commonly this is mixed with citrus juices (Sour orange, lime or orange) &/or vinegar to make a marinade. Another popular dish you may have heard of is Cochinita Pibil which also uses Achiote paste as a marinade. Other dishes from the region include Poc-Chuc, Sopa de Lima, Chilmole & banana leaf tamales just to name a few. (I promise I`ll bring you these soon)
Enough of my rambling, let`s get started. Here`s what you’ll need for your Simple Yucatecan Achiote Fish:
Fresh Fish- 1-1 1/2lbs cut in portions. Any firm white fish will be perfect. I used Sea Bass but Snapper, Grouper, Cod or Halibut will be fantastic. (You could also use whole butterflied fish)
Achiote Paste- 1/2 of a 3 1/2 oz package
Limes- 3 juiced
Dried Oregano (preferably Mexican) -1 teaspoon
Ground Cinnamon- 1/2 teaspoon
Garlic- 2 cloves peeled
Chipotle en adobo- 1-2 depending on spice tolerance
Ground Cumin- 1 teaspoon
Salt- 1/2 teaspoon
Quick Pickled Red Onions- Here Start with the Achiote marinade. Classically this is made from the juice of Sour Oranges but they may be hard to find. I substituted the juice from one regular orange & 3 limes. Add the citrus juice, Achiote paste, garlic, cumin, oregano, chipotle chili & salt to a blender cup & process until smooth.Add the fish to a nonreactive glass or ceramic dish and pour the marinade over.
Turn to coat all sides. Cover & place in the fridge for at least an hour but best overnight.Traditionally the fish is wrapped in banana leaves to form little bundles & then grilled allowing the fish to steam. Well, there were no banana leaves to be found on this day so I went with the easiest solution. I baked them & you know what? They were absolutely delicious! Remove the fish from the fridge 1/2 hour before cooking to come to room temperature. Preheat your oven to 425 degrees. Give a baking sheet a quick hit of cooking spray & lay your fillets out in a single layer. Bake 8-14 minutes (depending on the thickness of your fish) or until just cooked through.
Serve immediately & enjoy your Simple Yucatecan Achiote Fish!!