Red Snapper With Achiote Paste

Course : Fish
Serves: 4
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1 cup annato paste
2 fillets red snapper -- (1 lb) OR other firm-fleshed fish skin on
-----citrus-habanero sauce-----
1/2 cup orange juice -- fresh squeezed
1/2 cup lime juice -- fresh squeezed
1/2 cup water
1/3 cup onion -- chopped
1 medium habanero chile -- veins and seeds removed -- slivered
1/4 cup cilantro -- chopped
1 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons oil -- optional
-----achiote paste-----
1 cup annatto -- (achiote) seeds
10 cloves garlic
1/3 cup Mexican oregano
5 tablespoons peppercorns
4 teaspoons ground cumin
4 teaspoons coriander seeds
10 whole allspice berries
1 1/4 cups white vinegar -- or equal combination of fresh orange juice and fresh lime juice

Preparation / Directions:

"RED SNAPPER WITH ACHIOTE PASTE (HUACHINANGO CON RECADO DE ADOBO COLORADO)" Spread Annato (Achiote) Paste on both sides of fish, covering well. Place fish in refrigerator 1 to 2 hours. In mixing bowl combine orange juice, lime juice, water, onion, habanero, cilantro and salt to taste. Barbeque fish over hot coals, skin-side down, until seared, 2 minutes. Or heat 3 tablespoons oil in skillet large enough to accommodate fish until very hot, then place fish in pan, skin-side down, and fry until seared, 2 minutes. Place seared fish in 1-inch deep baking dish and pour citrus-habanero sauce over. Bake until fish is firm to touch and thoroughly cooked, about 5 minutes. Serve immediately. ACHIOTE PASTE (RECADO DE ADOBO COLORADO): Combine annatto, garlic, oregano, peppercorns, cumin, coriander, allspice and vinegar or juice mixture in blender or food processor. Process with on/off motion until thoroughly pureed. Add more orange juice or vinegar to give smooth paste consistency. Keeps indefinitely, if made with vinegar, or up to 3 weeks if made with citrus juices. Makes 1 1/2 cups. Presented by: Zarella Martinez, L.A. Times article, "Home Ground" "The ricado used in this dish is the basis for many Yucatan peninsula dishes. The most famous is cochinita pibil; a suckling pig, marinated with this spice paste and wrapped in banana leaves, baked in a Mayan earth oven. Large fish and venison or other wild game are also baked in pibs. I slather this paste on guinea hens and broil them on the rotisserie, or wrap marinated chicken breasts or fish fillets in banana leaves with slices of orange and steam the packets. One of my favorite appetizers is chicken drummettes baked with this recado."

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