Strands of spiral-sliced yautia — or sweet potato, if yautia is not available in your market — are wrapped around fish fillets, protecting them as they fry and adding their own flavor and texture. The fish is served with braised vegetables and a salsa of tomatillos and tomatoes.
- Oven-dried Tomatillo and Tomato Salsa
- Tomatillos - 2
- Tomatoes - 2
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- Olive Oil - 2 tablespoons
- Aji dulce (sweet peppers) - 2, seeded, deribbed, and minced
- Onion - 1 small, chopped
- Ricao or cilantro - 2 teaspoons, chopped
- White Wine Vinegar - 1/2 cup
- Lime Juice - 1/2 cup
- Sugar - 1/2 cup
- Yuca Puree
- Yuca - 2 cups, peeled, cored, and chopped
- Milk - 3 cups
- Kosher salt - 1 teaspoon
- Fennel - 1 bulb
- Butter - 1 tablespoon
- Chicken Stock - 2 cups
- Romaine - 1 head
- Cilantro Oil
- Cilantro - 1 bunch, stemmed
- Grapeseed Oil - 8 ounces
- Dorado (mahimahi) - 24 ounces, filleted
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- Purple Yautia - 1, peeled (alternatively, 3 large sweet potatoes)
- Vegetable Oil - 8 ounces
- Red Pepper - 1 large, cut in very narrow julienne
To make the salsa: Preheat the oven to 200 F. Place a wire rack in a baking sheet. Quarter and seed the tomatoes and tomatillos. Place them on the wire rack, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and bake 2 - 2-1/2 hours, until nearly dried. Let cool and dice. Heat the oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Toss the dried tomatoes, tomatillos, onion, and peppers to coat, then cook until the onion and pepper are softened, about 1 minute. Add the remaining ingredients, toss to coat, and remove from heat. Set aside at room temperature for at least 1 hour to blend the flavors.
To prepare the yuca puree: Bring the yuca, 2-3/4 cups milk, and salt to a simmer over medium heat. Cook for 20 minutes, or until tender. Add 1/4 cup of milk and puree in a food processor. Cover and set aside.
To prepare the vegetables: Preheat the oven to 350 F. Cut the fennel bulb vertically in 1/4-inch-thick slices. Melt the butter in a saute pan or skillet over medium heat and saute the fennel with the shallots until the fennel is golden on both sides, about 2 minutes. Cover three-fourths of the way with stock, put in the oven, and braise for 10 minutes. Bring a pot of water to a boil over high heat and drop the lettuce into the water for 15 seconds. Remove with a slotted spoon or tongs and plunge into ice water to stop the cooking. Place the lettuce on a towel spread on a work surface, thick ends toward you, and pat dry with another towel. Cut off the heavy bases. Cut the lettuce lengthwise from base to tip into 2-inch-wide strips, then separate the strips. Using the towel to assist, fold the lettuce up one third from the bottom and press with the towel, then lift the top end and fold over, forming a packet. Press with the towel. Lift the lettuce packets with a spatula, put in a skillet large enough to hold them in one layer, and add the remaining chicken stock. Place in the oven for 5 minutes.
To make the cilantro oil: Bring a pan of water to a boil and plunge the cilantro into the water for 5 seconds. Remove with a slotted spoon and plunge into ice water. Remove and drain on a towel or paper towels. Place the cilantro and oil in a blender and puree. Strain through a fine-meshed sieve and put in a squeeze bottle.
To make the dorado: Cut the dorado lengthwise into 6-ounce portions. Season with salt and pepper. Turn the yautia or sweet potato on a spiral slicer, making long spiral strands. Carefully wrap each fillet in the strands, making sure the strands are applied in a single layer all around the fish. Do not double the strands. Heat the oil in a saute pan or skillet over medium-high heat and pan fry the fish until the crust is golden brown and the fish is cooked all the way through, about 5 minutes. Remove the fish and drain on paper towels. With a slotted spoon, place the red pepper julienne in the hot oil and let cook for 30 seconds, then remove and drain.
To serve: Cut a piece of fish diagonally into thirds and stand the three pieces in the center of a serving plate. Place a scoop of yuca puree beside the fish. Repeat with the other three serving plates. Divide the fennel and lettuce among the plates and place beside the yuca puree. Place small clusters of salsa around the other side of the plates and drizzle each with cilantro oil. Place a cluster of red pepper strips in the center of each plate.