Chilean Sea Bass a la Veracruzana

Chilean Sea Bass a la Veracruzana

Chilean Sea Bass a la Veracruzana

Decades ago, I prepared Chilean Sea Bass a la Veracruzana at our home for an important business dinner party for 14 colleagues. The meal turned out to be a super success. But not because I was a stellar cook back then, but because rich, melt-in-the-mouth Chilean Sea Bass aka Patagonian Toothfish (Dissostichus eleginoides) is simply delicious and almost impossible to overcook due to its flesh high fat content.

The pan sauce was a heavenly combination of olive oil, fish juices, lime juices, chicken stock, garlic, bay and oregano. The tomatoes, olives, capers, and jalapeño complemented the fish with flavors from the Mediterranean along with a Mexican-style pizzazz.

Prior to the 1990s, we had never heard of Chilean Sea Bass. But once it started showing up on restaurant menus, it became a culinary darling. Thanks to that and basically good ol’ luck, I chose Sea Bass Veracruz for my evening’s main course…

Ha! Well, now with many years of cooking under my toque, guess what? My recipe is not much different than the one from a long time ago.

Populations went from sustainable, to overfished, and now back to sustainable again according to the Marine Stewardship Council. And although the fish I am using is called “Chilean” it is actually a product of Australia, fished in the Southern Ocean. It has met the global standard for sustainability where there are enough fish left in the sea to reproduce indefinitely.

So it’s high time to resurrect that Sea Bass Veracruz recipe!

Chilean Sea Bass a la Veracruzana

Sea Bass Veracruz Recipe

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Sopa de Frijoles Borrachos

Sopa de Frijoles Borrachos

Sopa de Frijoles Borrachos
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Drunken Beans Soup

We served Frijoles Borrachos smothered in melted Oaxaca cheese with a side of warm flour tortillas the other night. It is an uncomplicated, tasty first course/side dish that appeals to almost everyone. But if I am going to cook dried beans, I am going to make plenty, as they take hours to soak and cook. Might as well make enough for other delicious dishes.

This time I turned the remaining pinto beans into a Drunken Beans Soup. The idea is similar to frijoles borrachos with beer as a key ingredient, but the beans are simmered with vegetables and spices then puréed to a coarse soupy texture.

The soup itself is quite delicious, but it is the garnishes that take it to another intoxicating level – Mexican crema, radish, pickled red onion, serrano chile, fried tortilla strips, cotija cheese, lime juice, and cilantro.

Sopa de Frijoles Borrachos

Drunken Beans Soup Recipe

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Brisket Quesabirria Tacos

Brisket Quesabirria Tacos

Brisket Quesabirria Tacos

I don’t know anyone who cooks a brisket for 6 hours plus, and doesn’t make enough for leftovers. It is great simply re-heated in the sauce. It also freezes well and can be repurposed in tons of other great dishes like tamales and sandwiches. This year, our Rosh Hashanah brisket morphed into quesabirria tacos.

We first tried quesabirria tacos when grazing on The Vegas Strip. My nephew, Stone, was telling us that Birria Tacos with Consomé had been trending all over social media, and we had to give them a try. Gracias, Stone!

Quesabirria tacos (aka red tacos) are super popular and bursting with unctuous deliciousness. They are composed of just three ingredients – meat, cheese, and corn tortillas. They are served with a dipping sauce on the side called consomé. After several hours of cooking, the sauce in which the meat is cooked becomes rich and complexly flavored. The layer of fat from meat flavors and crisps the tortillas, and the liquid becomes the dipping sauce.

Mexican consomé is made with chiles and common Mexican spices such as cumin, oregano, and cinnamon. My holiday brisket consomé is equally flavorful in a different way, it is umami-rich but not spicy at all.

Quesabirria con Consomé Recipe
For Leftover Brisket

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Aguachile de Salmón

Aguachile de Salmón
Aguachile de Salmón

Aguachile is just one of many styles of Mexican ceviche. Hailing from the State of Sinaloa, it is traditionally made with raw shrimp, cucumber, onion, lime juice, and fresh chile peppers.

The name “chile-water” comes from the method of mashing chiles with water to make the salsa. Often served as a snack or appetizer, it is usually accompanied by avocado and tostadas.

Here, this vibrant, tangy, refreshing appetizer is made with sushi-grade Southeast Alaska Coho Salmon. Coho’s pleasant mild flavor benefits from lots of jazzy toppings. Coho is a wonderful species of salmon for aguachile – the flavor is enhanced by the salsa and olive oil, the texture pairs great with crispy tostadas, it’s not too fishy, and has broad appeal. (We save expensive King salmon for special meals, and save deep-red Sockeye species for beautiful sashimi). Coho is simply perfect here…

Aguachile de Salmón Coho Recipe

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Smoked Salmon Tostadas, Baja White Sauce

Smoked Salmon Tostadas

Smoked Salmon Tostadas, Baja White Sauce

It’s a riot of colors, textures, and flavors! Silky-smoky-salty salmon, crunchy shredded cabbage, nutty-buttery avocado, peppery-crisp radish, bright-green-vegetal jalapeño, screaming-hot habanero, zesty-sour lime, herby-citrusy cilantro, sweet-tangy pickled red onion all happily combined atop crispy-charred corn tortillas. And all dressed with Baja White Sauce, that classic sauce served on top of those crave-worthy fish tacos in Baja, California.

Smoked Salmon Tostadas Recipe

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