Combining the classic Yucatecan ingredients of achiote seasoning, black beans and pickled red onions, true panuchos need to be made with fresh tortillas that will inflate when placed on the comal or griddle, so that the thin top layer (called the “pancita”) puffs up while it is heating up. If you do not have access to fresh tortillas or make your own, you don’t have to miss out on this flavor combination – instead, put the toppings on tostadas and have “Yucatan-style tostadas.” In the Yucatan, this would typically be made with grouper or shark, but any leftover fish that isn’t too fatty would do nicely.
- 2 cups shredded, cooked fish
- 1 tablespoon achiote paste, dissolved in ½ cup bitter orange juice (or use half regular orange juice and half lime juice)
- 12 small, fresh tortillas
- 1 cup refried black beans
- vegetable oil for frying
- 1 sliced avocado
- ½ cup seeded, chopped tomato
- pickled red onion, for garnish (See NOTE)
Combine the shredded fish with the achiote and orange juice mixture and set aside.
Heat each tortilla on a comal or griddle, and when the top layer puffs up, carefully make a slit around half the tortilla’s circumference, forming a pocket. Place a spoonful of beans inside the pocket, then press the tortilla gently to spread the paste a bit.
Heat the oil in a skillet and fry the panuchos on each side, turning carefully, until crisp. Do not over fry; the panuchos should be slightly chewy.
Top the panuchos with the fish mixture, and top each with an avocado slice and some chopped tomato.
Garnish with pickled red onions, or let each diner add them to taste. Makes 12 panuchos.
NOTE: For the pickled onion, thinly slice a red onion, blanch it in boiling water for a few seconds, drain and marinate with either fruit vinegar (such as apple or pineapple vinegar) or bitter orange juice. Add some crumbled dried oregano and salt to taste and let the onions marinate for at least 2 hours before serving.