Recipe: Achiote Cured Snapper Crudo

Crudo, meaning "raw" in Italian and Spanish, has been a staple in European fishing villages for generations. Increasingly its popularity is growing in the U.S. with more and more restaurant goers embracing this dish of raw fish dressed with oils, seasonings and the like.

Here, California Modern Chef de Cuisine, Jonathan Bautista shares his recipe for spicy and delicious achiote cured snapper with serrano-pineapple broth, jicama, cucumber and herbs.

Preparation

FOR THE ACHIOTE CURED SNAPPER

Mix the achiote, zest from 3 limes, lime juice and salt in a small metal mixing bowl. Using protective gloves to prevent achiote paste from staining your hands, massage the mixture until it is smooth and spreadable.

On a flat plate or tray, fully immerse and massage the cleaned fish filets with the achiote paste until completely covered in red from the mixture. Let cure for 2-3 hours or until slightly firm.

Once the fish filets are cured, completely rinse the achiote paste mix off with cold water and pat with paper towels until completely dry. Reserve.

FOR THE SERRANO PINEAPPLE JUICE

Take the stems off the serrano chilies and chop. Blend the chopped chilies in a blender, including the seeds. Blend until smooth and reserve.

Add the remaining ingredients together in a bowl. Add the serrano puree, tasting as you go to your desired level of spiciness. Reserve in an airtight container until ready for use.

TO PLATE

Cut the reserved/cured fish in 1/2" x 1/2" cubes. In a medium mixing bowl, combine the cut fish and 1 1/2 cups of the prepared serrano pineapple juice. Next add 1/2 cup each sliced cucumbers, cut jicama and diced pineapple. Mix thoroughly.

Equally disperse the mixture into four small bowls and garnish with the Thai basil leaves. Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil if desired.

Ingredients

FOR THE ACHIOTE CURED SNAPPER

  • 1 cup achiote paste
  • 3 whole limes, zested
  • 1/2 cup fresh lime juice
  • 3/4 cup salt
  • 1 pound sashimi grade snapper, fileted, skinned and deboned (You may also use sea bream, fluke, or any small, flaky firm fish)

FOR THE SERRANO PINEAPPLE JUICE

  • Serrano pepper puree (add to desired heat)
  • 1 1/2 cups pineapple juice (fresh or canned)
  • 1/4 cup lime juice (fresh, strained)
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice (fresh, strained)
  • 3 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 6 sprigs Thai basil (chopped)
  • 6 sprigs cilantro (chopped)

ACCOMPANIMENTS

  • 1 whole Japanese or Persian cucumber, sliced into thin circles
  • 1 medium jicama, peeled and cut into matchstick size
  • 1/2 pineapple, peeled, cored and cut into medium-sized cubes 
  • Optional garnish: Thai basil leaves (preferably small)