COUNTRY: DOMINICAN REPUBLIC
DISH: Pescada con Coco
CONTRIBUTED BY: Denis Cardenas, Owner at El Jalapeno
When you try Pescado con Coco (Fish in Coconut Sauce) for the first time you can’t help but wonder how you had lived without something that tastes this decadent, that is so evocative of lazy days on white-sand beaches, mid-day siestas, and exotic cocktails at sundown.
6 snappers or red grouper, 1/2 lb [0.45 kg] each (or tropical fish of your preference)
1 teaspoon crushed garlic
1 teaspoon powdered annatto (bija or achiote – optional)
1 1/2 teaspoon salt (more may be needed)
4 tablespoons vegetable oil (corn, canola or peanut)
2 peppers cut into strips
1 onion cut into strips
4 cups freshly extracted coconut milk (or canned)
2 tablespoons of chopped cilantro
- Clean the fish. Score diagonal cuts on the fish about 1.5 inches [4 cm] from each other.
- Mix the garlic, annatto and salt. Rub the fish with the mixture, making sure it penetrates into the cuts. The annatto does stain your hands, but it can be easily washed off.
- Heat oil in a large skillet (12″ [30 cm]) over medium heat.
- Cook fish lightly on one side (it’ll change colour), rotate and cook other side equally. Lower heat.
- Add the pepper and onion, cook until the onions become translucent.
- Add coconut milk. Simmer over medium heat until the liquid reduces to half.
- Rotate the fish regularly, being careful that it stays whole.
- When the liquid has reduced, season with salt to taste. Sprinkle with the cilantro and remove from the heat.
- Serve hot with rice.