This is one of the easiest, quickest preparations I’ve tried, but don’t let its simplicity fool you – the flavors are complex and well suited to a variety of sides or servings. I used black cod, which has a tender and flaky consistency that responds well to broiling; the heat of the spices balances the flavorful oil of the fish and brings out the roasted quality that comes from high-temperature cooking. Black cod also has even more healthy Omega-3s than salmon! Any dense white fish would work, however – try halibut, mackerel, or even mahi mahi, although the more delicate the flavor of the fish, the more likely it is to be overpowered by the spice.
You will need:
- 1 lb. black cod or other dense, flaky white fish; a thick fillet works nicely and doesn’t dry out
- 1-2 T butter (salted)
- 1 T ground chipotle; chipotles are jalapenos that have been roasted and smoked – you can get them ground to a powder at most stores that sell spices in bulk. For this recipe, a fine powder should be used, but if all you can find is adobo, or canned chipotles in sauce, then try that. The result will likely be hotter and less delicate, but very tasty.
- 2 limes – one juiced, one wedged
- a handful of cilantro, minced
- 1 vegetable bouillon cube, dissolved in warm water
- splash of olive oil
- an oven-proof casserole dish
1. If the fish is frozen, force-thaw it, and then rinse it under cold running water. Preheat your broiler.
2. Splash your baking dish with olive oil, and then set your fillet in it, turning it over a couple of times to coat it. Dust the fish liberally with salt, and then set it aside.
3. Melt the butter and add the chipotle powder and half of the lime juice. Mix it all together with a fork, and then pour it over the top of the fish, trying to keep as much on the fillet itself as possible. Rub it in a little with your hands, making sure it’s well-coated.
4. Sprinkle half the cilantro onto the surface of the fish, and then slide the dish under the broiler. I keep the top rack of the oven about 10 inches away from the broiler to prevent burning.
5. Cook the fish until the chipotle becomes fragrant – about 7 minutes. Pour half of the vegetable stock into the baking dish, and spoon some over the top of the fish.
6. Continue to let the fish cook, basting it occasionally, until it is flaky and opaque in its thickest part. Test periodically with a fork. Add broth as needed to keep some liquid in the bottom of the pan, but don’t smother the fish – too much liquid, and it will poach rather than broil. We just want to keep it moist and still let the edges crisp.
Serve in a dish that holds juice, and spoon the butter-broth mixture over each portion. Toss on the remaining cilantro and lime juice, and offer extra wedges of lime at the table. This preparation goes beautifully with Asian-style fried rice, sesame noodles, Cuban rice and beans, and astringent green salads. The leftovers make excellent filling for fish tacos – just add black beans and cabbage slaw!