MAYAN STYLED FISH: TIKINCHIK

Grilled achiote-marinated fish

Along with Pollo Pibil and Cochinita Pibil, this dish has its roots deep in the Maya past. All share the recado rojo, an intensely flavored spice paste made of achiote seeds and the juice of sour orange, and all are typically cooked either in or on top of banana leaves. Tikin in Maya means “dry” and xik means “wing.” This simply refers to the way the fish is typically prepared, which is to butterfly a whole fish and spread it open. Unlike the pibil dishes, however, tikin-xik is not cooked in a pit, but rather over a wood or charcoal fire.
This particular version has been influenced by the Mediterranean cooking styles of Veracruz.

1o servings

8 Tbs. (120ml) Recado Rojo (achiote

paste, available in Latin markets)
• 8 Tbs. (120ml) juice of naranja
agria (Also known as sour orange or
Seville orange. Substitute: 2 parts fresh
lime juice, 1 part each fresh orange
juice and grapefruit juice)
• 2 Tbs. (30ml) Spanish olive oil
• 4 large cloves garlic, peeled and
roasted in a comal or heavy skillet
• 2 tsps. (6g) peppercorns
• 2 tsps. (14g) sea salt
• 1 Tbs. (15ml) orégano Yucateco,
toasted and crumbled
• 6 lbs. (2.75k) red snapper (huachinango), grouper (mero) or porgy
(pargo), cleaned and butterflied
• Large banana leaves
• 2 Tbs. (30ml) Spanish olive oil
• 3 chiles x’catiques, (Substitute:
Anaheim, banana pepper) charred,
stemmed, seeded, sliced lengthwise)
• 1 green bell pepper, thinly sliced
• 1/2 white onion, thinly sliced
• 2 large Roma tomatoes, sliced
• 15 stuffed green olives, sliced
• 1 Tbs. (15ml) small capers
• 5 bay leaves
• Several sprigs epazote
• 1/4 cup (75ml) dry white wine

Step 1

Dissolve the recado rojo in the juice. Use more juice if necessary to achieve the consistency of thick cream. Add oil and stir to blend.
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Step 2

coarsely crush the roasted garlic with peppercorns, sea salt and orégano in a molcajete or mortar and pestle. Add mixture to recado rojo and stir until blended.

NOTE: If using homemade recado you may omit this step.
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Step 3

Place the fish skin-side down in a large  dish; apply the marinade and coat the entire fish thoroughly, on both sides. Cover and refrigerate at least 1 hour but no more than 4 hours.

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Step 4

Remove thick center ribs from banana leaves and discard. On a removable roasting rack, place a layer of banana leaves. Brush leaves with olive oil. Put the marinated fish skin-side down, leaving enough overlap of banana leaves so that you will be able to wrap and completely cover the fish. Top fish with any remaining marinade.
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Step 5

Decorate the fish with the vegetables; finish with the bay leaves and epazote. Dribble on the wine and wrap the leaves over the top of the fish to cover thoroughly but loosely.
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Step 6

GRILL over charcoal, turning once, for approximately 20 minutes, or until firm. To serve, place the entire package on a serving platter; cut open banana leaves to reveal fish, and garnish with wedges of sour orange if desired. Serve with Cebollas Encurtidas and Chile Tamulado.

ENJOY!!!