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Pescado a la Plancha (Sauteed Fish with Garlic and Citrus


I started keeping Kosher out of my house when I was about 13-years-old (meaning I did not eat meat that was not “certified” as kosher). For the most part it wasn’t a big deal, I never ate that much meat anyway. But there are a few things I still miss. Like eating a three-way at Skyline, Montgomery Inn chicken, and Arby’s roast beef sandwiches. Harder than any of those tasty treats, though, is Cuban food. Particularly bistec de pollo (chicken steak). Most people associate Cuban food with pork, which it definitely is, but bistec de pollo–grilled, pounded chicken with lime and garlic–is what made Cuban food for me growing up. My mom’s family is Cuban and with every visit to Miami (where her family now lives) our first stop from the airport would be some Cuban restaurant–fast food or sit down, it didn’t matter. There we would order palomillo, bistec de pollo, rice, beans, sweet plantains (maduros), salty plantains (mariquitas or tostones), fried yucca, steamed yucca, and, of course, cafe con leche (coffee with milk).

Orange halves and lime

So I was really excited when my aunt gave me a copy of Estefan Kitchen by Emilio and Gloria Estefan, a cookbook of authentic Cuban recipes. They don’t have a bistec de pollo recipe, but there are some great and easy versions of some of the foods that I love.

Making my own naranja agriaOne of which is Pescado a la plancha, or sauteed fish with garlic and citrus. The recipe recommends using grouper, I used tilapia (grouper was just way too expensive), but I think this preparation works for any fish–Gloria writes that snapper, sea bass and mahimahi all work well with the dish.

Fish, fresh from the ovenPescado a la Plancha

1 1/2 cup naranja agria (sour orange) juice

1 tsp salt

pinch of black pepper

pinch of cumin powder

1/2 tsp dried oregano

4 cloves garlic, crushed

8 fillets of grouper (approximately 8 oz. each)

olive oil

Whisk the orange juice, salt, cumin, black pepper, oregano, and crushed garlic. Naranja agria can be found as a marinade in the “hispanic foods” section of your grocery store or you can substitute it with two parts lemon juice to one part orange juice.

Place the fillets in a deep baking dish and pour the marinade over the fish, making sure each fillet is coated. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 3-4 hours.

In a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium-high heat until fragrant. Reduce the heat to medium and sauté the fillets for approximately seven to eight minutes, or to desired done-ness, turning once about halfway through. Add olive oil as needed.

Serve with black beans, rice, plantains of any preparation–I agree whole-heartedly with the Estefans that Cuban meals are meant to have lots of sides (they’re the best part!).

One Comment leave one →
  1. mami permalink
    11/12/2009 9:05 PM

    Great blog! I am sharing this one with Tia. How did it turn out? Looks like you made alot.

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