Delicious & Easy
Baja Inspired Yellowtail Tiradito
Raw fish dishes are ubiquitous in Baja from mariscos stands and food truck parks to high-end Cali-Baja restaurants. Chefs of the Cali-Baja and Baja Med movement, though, have elevated these dishes beyond their ceviche origins by introducing flavors and techniques from Italy, Japan, and Peru. Miguel Angel Guerrero at La Querencia restaurant in Rosarito and Tijuana was the first to turn me on to it; then Benito Molina and Solange Muris in their Ensenada restaurant Manzanilla perhaps set the bar. This take on “uncooking” is inspired by their work.
Microgreens (cilantro, radish, beet, arugula, basil, or other) or fresh cilantro leaves to garnish
Roast the beets: Preheat oven to 375°. Coat beets lightly with olive oil, wrap in aluminum foil, place on a baking sheet, and roast in the oven until cooked through, approximately 45 to 60 minutes. Remove beets from the oven, unwrap, and place in the refrigerator to cool. Peel beet when cool and skins should slip right off.
Char the corn: Use the microwave/blowtorch method by cooking corn ear in the microwave oven on high for 2 minutes, turn and microwave 2 more minutes. Once cooked, use a blowtorch to scorch the corn's surface, turning the ears to make sure all sides are charred. Alternatively, char the corn directly on the flame of a gas stove or grill, turning frequently.
Make the tiradito: Bring a small saucepan of water to a boil, add yellow bell pepper and boil for 15 minutes. Remove pepper from the pot and let cool before peeling the skin off. Place peeled pepper in a food processor with a pinch of kosher salt and process until smooth. Add ají amarillo purée, garlic, lemon juice, 2 tablespoons lime juice, chicken stock, and soy sauce and pulse until puréed. Set sauce aside.
Trim yellowtail loin into sashimi-thin pieces, about 1 ½ inches by ¾ inch in size. Using a very sharp and long knife, slice the fish on a slight bias toward the narrow end and lay the slices on a plate; sprinkle lightly with kosher salt. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.
Cut beet down to ½-inch dice. Cut charred corn off the ear.
To serve: Arrange yellowtail slices in a circular pattern on four plates. Spoon sauce around and over the yellowtail. Divide and top each plate with beet cubes and corn kernels and garnish with microgreens or cilantro leaves on top.
Photo credit: Nancy Gardiner