This recipe is written for fish, tofu, or eggplant. You start by making the roasted tomato salsa from p. 57. You put 1 lb. of fresh tomatoes, some onion slices, garlic, and a couple jalapeños on a sheet pan and broil for about 6 min each side. You then mash the garlic and chiles in a molcajete, then add the tomatoes one by one, then finally add the onion, which you have chopped. My molcajete isn’t big enough to handle all this, so after making the paste of the chile and garlic, and adding one tomato, I transferred the mixture to a food processor to incorporate the rest. This salsa is good, but doesn’t quite have the flavor it would if I charred the veg on the grill or on a comal, like I usually do. It does have the advantage of being weatherproof, however.
To make the braised dish, you take slices of tofu, pan-fry in a bit of oil, then add the salsa, slap a lid on, and simmer. When it’s cooked to your liking, remove the tofu to your plates, thin the sauce as needed to get the consistency you want for serving, then spoon over the tofu.
This was an extremely easy dish, which I appreciated as I’d had a busy day. I might actually like this better with some Daring vegan chicken over tofu, although the tofu was absolutely fine. I’d make it again just for sheer ease it. Served with leftover rice for a somewhat monochromatic meal.
This recipe has been on my list to try ever since I read the (positive) reports back on Chowhound from the previous COTM, which happened before I joined. I was glad to have a nudge to actually make them.
I have to admit, while they were in the oven, I second guessed them - I don’t love mint, and the sauce seemed pretty unseasoned, so I was convinced I’d be underwhelmed. But I really enjoyed these meatballs! They are quite easy to put together, especially using the food processor as recommended (though I didn’t process the pork with the rest of the meatball ingredients - I folded it in at the end). I also found that the sauce was still quite saucy even after baking for the full time, so I didn’t need to add any broth. I served the meatballs on the rice pilaf from the book (see below) and was very satisfied with the meal! Would definitely make these again.
GULF COAST-STYLE WHITE RICE PILAF (ARROZ BLANCO) P.88 MEXICAN EVERYDAY
This simple pilaf is more of a method than a recipe, but I’m glad to have stumbled on it. The original recipe involves sauteing onion and rice in some oil, adding some garlic, salt, and chicken broth, and cooking it in the oven. Instead, I did one of the variants - sauteing on the stove, then scraping the mixture into my rice cooker. It came out great and stayed warm until my meatballs were finished, plus I didn’t have to worry about burning it (which I always seem to do on the stove/in the oven…) The pilaf itself is cozy and a great accompaniment to the slightly spicy meatballs.
GULF COAST-STYLE WHITE RICE PILAF (ARROZ BLANCO) p. 88 Mexican Everyday
I made this to go with the Cilantro Poached Halibut. I used the oven method. I used shrimp stock, so I did not get a white pilaf out of this (more of a blush color). Also, my ratio of rice to stock was 270 g. arborio rice to 475 ml. stock (about a quarter cup more than he calls for). This turned out to be perfect for us.
Pictured is the leftover rice, which will be used later this week for another meal.
CILANTRO-POACHED (SOLE) HALIBUT - pp. 330-331 More Mexican Everyday
This turned out great! You start by sauteing some onion and serrano chile in butter or olive oil. Then add some chicken broth, cilantro, and lime zest. Season with salt to taste and add your fish. Simmer, covered, until cooked through (about 5-6 minutes). Then remove the fish to a plate (keeping warm) and put your onion/chile/cilantro/broth in a blender until smooth. Add a creamy element - he gives a choice of Mexican crema, creme fraiche, heavy cream, or Greek yogurt. Reheat and serve with the fish.
The dish really is just as simple as that. I did double the amount of chiles called for (and a couple cloves of garlic) and used 2 T. of heavy cream in total for my sauce. Notes on Eat Your Books suggested that the sauce would be on the thin side as written, so I reduced it by half and then thinned it back out a little with the juices from the fish from while it rested. That was perfect.
Oh, and I used sole (rolled up to mimic the thickness of halibut). Worked fine.
This is good for weeknights or special occasions. We had this over the Gulf Coast Style White Rice Pilaf from Mexican Everyday.
I want this SO much, but my husband has this issue with white fish, and especially white fish with creamy sauces. But this looks so good. Any chance all the interesting stuff in the sauce sort of masks the cream?
@Amandarama - that looks awesome btw i love mexican fish dishes the most. I’m a big fan of frying up and then mushing/chopping and mixing a plantain (or banana) into the rice too especially with seafood.