By Pati’s Mexican Table 

When you’re a busy mom to three boys and you have a job, it’s hard to make an effort to set aside time for just you and the hubby. So today, Pati is preparing a special meal for a date night with her husband, Dany. And since he loves seafood, she’s going to make seafood dishes for their romantic night in. A trip down to the state of Michoacán where Pati meets the Butterfly Net Fishermen helps the inspiration.

Pescado Rodrigo

Serves 6

INGREDIENTS

For the sauce:

– 1/2 cup thinly sliced scallions (white and light green parts only)
– 1/2 cup chopped cilantro leaves and upper stems
– 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
– 1/4 cup olive oil
– 2 tablespoons chopped jalapeño or serrano chile, or to taste
– 1 tablespoon Maggi sauce or soy sauce
– Kosher or coarse sea salt, to taste

For the fish:

– 6 tilapia fillets (about 6 ounces each) or other mild white fish fillets (sea bass, grouper, red snapper or rockfish), rinse and pat dry
– 1/4 teaspoon kosher or coarse sea salt, or to taste
– Pinch of freshly ground black pepper, or to taste
– All-purpose flour, to coat fish fillets
– Vegetable oil
– 12 corn tortillas, store-bought or homemade

DIRECTIONS

To make the sauce: In a small bowl, combine the scallions, cilantro, lime juice, olive oil, chile and Maggi sauce, and stir to mix well. Set aside for at least 15 minutes. Season with salt to taste, if need be.

Sprinkle the fish fillets with the salt and pepper. Spread flour on a large plate and coat each fillet thoroughly on both sides.

Heat 1/4-inch of vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat until hot but not smoking. Add the fish, in batches to avoid crowding, and sear for about 3 minutes, until crisped and browned on the bottom. Don’t fiddle with the fillets, let them brown so they don’t stick to the bottom and can be released. Turn and brown for about 3 minutes on the second side. The fish is ready when the thickest part is cooked through and it flakes easily with a fork. Put the fish on a paper towel-lined baking sheet. Keep warm in a low (250°F) oven, if you won’t eat it in the next 10 minutes.

Transfer the fish to a platter and pour the sauce on top. Or, you can do as I do, flake the fish and serve drizzled with the sauce, ready to make tacos. Serve with corn tortillas.

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