Mexican seven seas fish: Pescado siete mares
Mexican seven seas fish is a specialty of La Cenaduría, a lovely old adobe restaurant in San Jose del Cabo. It combines fresh red snapper filets, a mild salsa roja, and just enough manchego cheese to melt over the top. The description of the preparation that I was given mentioned only "red sauce;" since this is a broad category, I have included a recipe for a cooked red salsa which complements the flavor of the fish without overwhelming it.
- 1 1/2 lbs. skinned red snapper, grouper or trigger fish filets
- 1 1/3 cups flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 2 egg yolks, beaten
- 1/2 cup beer
- 2 cups shredded manchego cheese
- vegetable oil for frying
Pat the filets dry with paper towels; set aside.
Place the flour, salt, 1 tablespoon vegetable oil, and the egg yolks in a deep bowl and mix well.
Add the beer, a little at a time, stirring the batter after each addition.
Heat about one inch of vegetable oil in a large skillet.
Preheat the broiler.
Dip the filets in the batter to coat, and place them in the skillet, being careful not to crowd them.
Lift the filets gently with a spatula to check for color, and when they are golden, carefully turn and cook them on the other side.
Place the filets on a baking sheet, ladle red sauce (see Note, below) on each, and top with shredded cheese.
Broil only until the cheese melts and turns bubbly. Serve at once.
For the red sauce, you may use your favorite mild enchilada sauce, or make a sauce by liquifying until smooth: 8 lightly toasted, seeded and soaked cascabel chiles, 1/4 cup chopped onion, 4 garlic cloves, 2 roasted roma tomatoes, a pinch of cumin, salt to taste, and enough of the chile-soaking water to achieve the consistency of an enchilada sauce. Heat 1 tablespoon vegetable oil in a medium saucepan, add the liquified mixture, and cook over medium heat for 10-15 minutes. This may be prepared in advance, refrigerated and reheated before topping the fish.
Cooking on the Sea of Cortez: Culinary adventures in Baja California