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Fish with Plums Pasilla and Tequilla

Tilapia with Plums, Pasilla and Tequila
Huachinango con Salsa de Ciruela, Pasilla y Tequila

Serves: 6

Huachinango con Salsa de Ciruela, Pasilla y Tequila" alt="Tilapia with Plums, Pasilla and Tequila
Huachinango con Salsa de Ciruela, Pasilla y Tequila" />


2 tablespoons vegetable oil, plus 2 more for cooking the fish

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 1/2 cups slivered white onion

3 pressed or minced garlic cloves

4 ripe plums, halved, pitted, sliced

4 to 6 pasilla chiles, stemmed, seeded, sliced

1/4 teaspoon brown sugar, or to taste

3/4 teaspoon kosher or coarse sea salt, or to taste, plus more to season the fish

2 tablespoons silver tequila

1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice

Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

6 red snapper fillets, skin on (about 6 ounces) or another flaky and mild tasting fish of your choice such as tilapia, rock fish, or grouper

To Prepare

Heat the oil and butter in a large heavy skillet set over medium heat. Once the butter melts and begins to sizzle, before it browns, add the onion. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes, until it softens and begins to gently brown around the edges. Add the garlic, mix well and cook for another minute. Toss in the sliced plums and chiles, sprinkle in the sugar and salt, stir, and cook for about 6 to 7 minutes. The plums should be cooked and gently browned and the chiles softened.

Pour in the tequila, gently tilt towards the fire to ignite it, cook until flames disappear. Add the orange juice, stir, and cook for a couple minutes more. Set aside.

Heat a couple tablespoons oil in a large heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Season the fish with a sprinkle of salt and freshly ground pepper. Sear the fish, skin side down first, for 2 to 3 minutes, until skin has crisped and browned. Flip the fish to the other side and cook until desired doneness, my choice is 2 to 3 minutes more.

Serve with a generous spoonfull of the chunky plum sauce on top.


Five Spice Pecan Plum Empanadas

Five Spice Pecan Plum Empanadas
Empanadas de Ciruela y Nuez

Serves: makes 10 empanadas

Empanadas de Ciruela y Nuez" alt="Five Spice Pecan Plum Empanadas
Empanadas de Ciruela y Nuez" />


2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting

1/2 cup granulated sugar

Pinch of kosher or coarse sea salt

12 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 1/2 stick), diced

1 egg

3 tablespoons sour cream

1/2 pound plums, pitted and diced (about 11/2 cups)

1/4 pound apricots, pitted and diced (about 3/4 cup)

1/2 cup pecans, finely chopped

1/4 cup dark brown sugar or shredded piloncillo

1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch

1 1/2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lime juice

1/8 teaspoon five spice powder

1 egg beaten, for brushing

Granulated sugar for dusting, or you may use turbinado or dark brown sugar

La Lechera dulce de leche or cajeta, to drizzle on top or on the side for dipping (optional)

To Prepare

In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, sugar and salt. In a small bowl, beat together the egg and sour cream.

With your fingers, combine the butter into the dry ingredients until it resembles a coarse meal (it should be crumbly). Rinse your hands and pour the beaten egg and sour cream into the large bowl with the crumbly butter mixture. Mix with a spatula until it comes together into smooth malleable dough. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour.

In a large bowl, combine the plums, apricots, pecans, brown sugar, cornstarch, lime juice and five spice powder and mix well.

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Generously flour your kitchen counter and rolling pin. Roll out the dough about a to 1/4- to 1/8-inch thickness. Cut the dough into rounds about 4-inches in diameter. Repeat the rolling and cutting process with any leftover dough scraps until you have used up all your dough. Place a heaping tablespoon of the plum filling in the middle of each circle to make chubby empanadas, brush around the edges with the beaten egg and fold to make a half moon, gently pressing with your fingers to close the edges. Finally, use the back of a fork to seal the dough without breaking it.

Line a couple baking sheets with parchment paper and arrange the empanadas on them, as you may need to bake 2 batches or use 2 baking sheets. Brush the tops of the empanadas with the beaten egg and sprinkle with sugar.

Bake the empanadas for 20 minutes or until they are golden brown. Serve warm or cooled and, if desired, drizzle with dulce de leche or cajeta.


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