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Milk Street Recipe

Chili and Citrus–Marinated Fish Tacos

1 review

1 hour plus marinating

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Chili and Citrus–Marinated Fish Tacos

At Casa Jacaranda cooking school in Mexico City, Jorge Fritz and Beto Estúa showed us how to make delicious fish tacos that were not only quick and easy to pull together, but also a feast for the eyes. Snapper, marinated in a blend of citrus juice, guajillo chilies, aromatics and achiote paste, was quickly sautéed before being tucked into tortillas and garnished with a savory-sweet pineapple-based salsa and fresh cilantro, delivering a profusion of flavors in each bite. We adapted their recipe, opting instead to broil the marinated fish, as we found that the intense heat produces delicious charring with minimal fuss and cleanup. For the salsa, we hewed closely to theirs, but added habanero chili for a touch of fruity heat that complements the pineapple (we added habanero to the fish marinade, too). Brick-red annatto paste, made with annatto seeds (also called achiote seeds) plus spices and seasonings, is typically sold in small bricks. Look for it in the international aisle of well-stocked supermarkets, in Latin American grocery stores or online. If you don’t have achiote paste, a good substitute can be made by stirring together 1½ tablespoons sweet paprika, ½ teaspoon ground cumin, ¼ teaspoon granulated garlic, ¼ teaspoon dried oregano, 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt and 1 tablespoon white vinegar to form a stiff paste. Use in place of the paste called for in the recipe.

4 to 6



Don’t use an aluminum baking pan or a vessel made of a “reactive” metal for marinating the fish. Rather, use a glass or ceramic pie plate or a wide, shallow stainless steel bowl to ensure the marinade’s acidity does not react with the material and cause “off” flavors. The acidity also impacts the texture of the fish, so don’t marinate the fillets for longer than a couple hours.

1 hour

plus marinating


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