Bacalao en Cilantro

28 Mar

If you ever get to travel to Mexico’s Gulf Coast, you will find that Mexicans really know their fish; it’s not all just about tacos and Ceviche!  Bacaloa en Cilantro

I had some fresh Haddock filets that I wanted to cook and my family does not particularly like the standard approach New Englanders take to their seafood; often deep-fried in heavy breading, or baked, drowned in butter and topped with crackers. Sometimes, there is nothing better than whipping up some beer-batter, deep-fry those filets, and have yourself some luscious Baja Fish Tacos, but were looking for something a bit more healthy! As I went through the recipe Rolodex in my head, I remembered a recipe that I once read in Diana Kennedy’s The Essential Cusines of Mexico for Pescado en Cilantro. In her version she uses snapper, but I had no access to fresh snapper, so I improvised and used the haddock instead!

 What I really like about this dish is the sauce. The chile, onion, and cilantro flavors combined with the fiery juice from the can of chiles make for a unique combination. To accompany this dish, I decided on using my go-to recipe of Saffron Rice. I just love the flavor of saffron with seafood.

You can go about the preperation two different ways. You can make the sauce and add the sauce to the casserole dish halfway through cooking, or you can simply drizzle it on the fish once you plate. I, out of sheer forgetfulleness (I wanted to cook the fish in the sauce to add the flavors of the fish and lime), ended up drizzling the sauce around the rice. It all turned out well in the end, the acidity and heat of the cilantro sauce complimented well with the fish and rice. After all, the taste of the sea, the chiles, cilantro, and saffron seem to be a match hard to beat!


Bacalao en Cilantro

(Baked Haddock in a cilantro sauce)

  • 2-3 pounds haddock or cod, cut into 6 ounce portions.
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 3 Jalepeños em escabeche
  • 1 cup of cilantro, packed
  • 1/3 cup lime juice
  • 3 tablespoons juice from the chile can
  • 8 tablespoons olive oil
  1. Preheat oven to 400°F
  2. Cut the fish into 6 ounce portions
  3. Pour 2 tablespoons of olive oil into a saute pan and saute the onions over medium high heat for about 5-6 minutes.
  4. In a casserole dish pour the lime juice and lay down half the onions.
  5. Season the fish with salt and pepper and place the fish on the bed of lime juice and onions, drizzle 2 tablespoons of oilve oil and place the rest of the onions on the fish
  6. Cover with foil and bake in oven for about 20-25 minutes, depending on the thickness of the fish.
  7. Take a clove of garlic, the jalepeños, the juice from the chile can and the cilantro and place into a 3 cup food processor, drizzle in the remaining olive oil with the motor running.
  8. When the fish is cooked, serve by laying down the saffron rice, top the rice with onions and a piece of the fish. At this point you can drizzle on the sauce or spoon it along the circumference of the rice. Top with chopped cilantro and serve!

    Bacalao con Cilantro

    Bacalao con Cilantro

Saffron Rice

  • 1 1/2  cups white jasmine or basmati rice
  • 1/4 white onion diced
  • 1 garlic clove minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon Saffron threads
  • 2 1/2 cups water
  • 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
  1. Place the water, saffron, and salt in a small saucepan and bring to a boil, then turn off to let the saffron steep.
  2. Heat oil in a 5-quart heavy pot over medium-high heat until it shimmers.
  3. Add onion, rice, and garlic to the pot and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 2 minutes
  4. Add the saffron mixture and bring to a simmer.
  5. Reduce heat to low and cook, covered, until water is absorbed and rice is tender, 18 to 20 minutes.
  6. Let rice stand, covered, off heat 5 minutes
  7. Fluff with a fork and serve with your fish!

16 Responses to “Bacalao en Cilantro”

  1. Kate Abbott - Clifton Kitchen March 28, 2012 at 1:16 pm #

    lovely colours and Im sure would taste as good as it looks.
    Take care

  2. hautemealz March 28, 2012 at 2:43 pm #

    Wow…that’s going to be on the menu this weekend! Looks amazing!

    Thanks for posting the recipe!


    • cjdelgrosso March 28, 2012 at 3:18 pm #

      Your welcome! Just add a squeeze of lime juice to the cilantro sauce as well if you do not finish cooking the fish in the sauce. The saffron rice is AMAZING!

  3. magefesausa March 28, 2012 at 5:09 pm #

    It looks fresh and tasty!

  4. The Scrumptious Pumpkin March 28, 2012 at 7:39 pm #

    I love this – I can never get enough cilantro!

  5. sugaredpecan March 28, 2012 at 11:44 pm #

    Gosh, I love cilantro sOoo much!! This would be a great sauce for many things but especially the fish. I thought deep-frying and drowning the food in butter was only a southern thing. This dish looks wonderful! Thanks for sharing!

    • cjdelgrosso March 29, 2012 at 11:32 am #

      I do too! Nope, New Englanders love to fry their seafood! Thanks for stopping by and commenting!

  6. Kiri W. March 29, 2012 at 1:07 am #

    Looks both healthy and intensely flavorful – a winner!

    • cjdelgrosso March 29, 2012 at 11:37 am #

      Thank you! The jalepenos in escabeche really add the punch here!

  7. delicio8 March 29, 2012 at 2:29 pm #

    I’m always looking for new ways to cook fish, this sounds fairly easy and delicious!

  8. Pasta Princess March 29, 2012 at 7:32 pm #

    That looks fantastic! I love the combination of lime and cilantro! And fish … love it!

    • cjdelgrosso March 29, 2012 at 7:35 pm #

      Thank you! I think lime, cilantro, and chile is a match made in heaven!!

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