Pescado Zarandeado is a unique and delicious traditional grilled fish dish served along Mexico’s Pacific Coast. The recipe uses a chile and garlic-based seasoning paste, and a final glazing of flavored mayonnaise before it goes on the grill. You can use any fairly thin fish filet for this very special dish.
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
10 cloves coarsely but well chopped garlic
2 teaspoons annatto seeds (available in Hispanic markets), ground to a powder
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon ancho chile powder, or substitute New Mexico chile powder
1/4 teaspoon powdered chile de árbol or substitute cayenne
Heaping 1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup mayonnaise
Finely chopped chives
4 6 - 8 ounce red snapper filets, or substitue another type of fish
1. Make the chile-garlic rub. In the oil, cook the garlic and powdered annatto seeds over medium low heat until the garlic is soft, but not browned. (Cooking the garlic too long will make make it rubbery and more difficult to grind into a paste). Lower the heat to very low, add the soy sauce, the two chile powders, and salt, and continue to cook for 1 - 2 minutes, but do not allow the powder to burn as it will be bitter. Remove the pan from heat and allow the mixture to cool for about 20 minutes. This will permit the powdered spices to fully hydrate. Grind the mixture to a paste in a molcajete or mortar and pestle.
2. Make the flavored mayonaise and coat the fish. Mix 1 1/2 teaspoons of the paste with the mayonnaise and reserve it in the refrigerator. Spread a layer of the remaining paste on one side of each fish filet and refrigerate for 1 to 3 hours.
3. Start your fire or preheat your grill. Light a fire in a charcoal or wood grill or preheat a gas grill.
4. Grill the fish. Just before grilling, remove and reserve 1 heaping tablespoon of the flavored mayonnaise and mix with the chives to use as a garnish for the finished dish, and spread the rest of the mayonnaise over the seasoning mixture on one side of the fish. Grill the fish until well browned on the flesh side, then turn the skin side down and continue grilling until done.
5. Serve the fish. Place the fish on serving plates, top with a little of the reserved flavored mayonnaise and chives, and serve it with lime wedges, your favorite sauces, guacamole, and hot corn tortillas.