Contemporary Mexican cuisine is not well known in New Zealand. Pan de Muerto has discovered this style of cooking, famous in Mexico City, and is now bringing it to your dinner plate. I use traditional Mexican ingredients such as guajillo chilli, star anise and cinnamon to infuse one of our ocean’s great bounties: snapper. It creates the most inviting aroma of Mexico.
For dessert, nothing is better than a spoonful of sweets, especially the most traditional Mexican cake — tres leches (three-milk cake). This version has been redesigned into a velvety mousse, with the added crunch of ginger and coconut biscotti.
Pescado empapelado with fresh tomato and red wine salsa
- 2 dried guajillo chillies (alternatively, use fresh jalapenos)
- 2 fennel bulbs (stalk and leaves removed), finely sliced
- 1 red onion, finely sliced
- 2 capsicum of varying colours (seeds removed), cut into 2cm chunks
- 50g unsalted butter, cut into cubes
- Salt and pepper
- 500g fresh snapper fillet
- Pinch of freshly chopped dill
- Pinch of dried oregano
- 1 orange, cut into wedges
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 25g ginger (skin removed), finely sliced
Tomato and red wine salsa
- 5 ripe tomatoes, chopped
- 1 brown onion, finely chopped
- 2 cloves of fresh garlic, minced
- 20g fresh coriander, finely chopped
- Juice and zest of 1 fresh lemon
- Juice and zest of ½ fresh lime
- 1 free-range egg yolk
- 50ml extra-virgin olive oil
- 25ml red wine vinegar
- 15g mānuka honey
- Salt and pepper
- Preheat the oven to 180˚C.
- Start by rehydrating the dried chillies. Bring a pot of water to the boil. Once it reaches 85˚C, turn off the heat and add the dried chillies. When soft, remove from the water, deseed and finely slice.
- Line an oven tray with baking paper. Pile the vegetables onto the middle of the tray with half of the butter cubes. Season with salt and pepper.
- Rub the fish fillet with dill, dried oregano and half of the rehydrated chilli slices. Season with salt and pepper.
- Place the fish on top of the vegetables and squeeze a few of the orange wedges over it.
- Place the rest of the orange wedges, the remaining rehydrated chilli slices, the cinnamon stick and the ginger around the fish and top with the remaining cubes of butter.
- Finally, fold the baking paper into a sealed parcel and bake the fish for 15–20 minutes.
- Meanwhile, make the salsa. Place the tomatoes, onion, garlic, coriander and lemon and lime zest into a bowl.
- In a separate bowl, whisk the egg yolk with the olive oil, red wine vinegar, honey and the lemon and lime juice until combined and creamy. Season with salt and pepper.
- Pour the vinaigrette over the tomato mixture and leave to rest for 10–15 minutes.