Huachinango is an Aztec name for “red snapper,” an ocean fish caught off the shores of tropical Veracruz, a Mexican state located on the Gulf of Mexico. If you visit the fish market in the busy seaport of Veracruz, you will see stands full of freshly caught snapper with shiny scales in all shades of red, pink, and yellow. This fish is also available fresh or frozen in many parts of the United States. If it is too expensive or unavailable at your grocery store, a different kind of white fish—such as haddock—may be substituted.
There are many popular Mexican recipes using red snapper, but one of the tastiest ways to fix this fish is simply to panfry it and then squeeze on fresh lime juice. Limes are more widely used in Mexican cooking than lemons. Their tangy juice gives a special flavor to fish and to fresh fruits such as papaya and mango.
6 red snapper fillets
1/2 c. all-purpose flour seasoned with salt and pepper to taste
4 tbsp. vegetable oil
2 limes, cut into wedges
1. In a shallow bowl or pie pan, mix flour with a bit of salt and pepper. Place 1 fillet in the flour mixture and turn until both sides are lightly coated. Repeat with the other fillets. Set aside on a plate.
2. Heat oil in a skillet and sauté fillets, 1 or 2 at a time, for about 5 minutes or until they are golden brown. Turn and sauté on other side.*
3. Serve with lime wedges.
Cooking time: 10 to 15 minutes
*To cut back on fat, place fried fish on a plate covered with a few layers of paper towels to absorb the oil. Or skip the oil. Wrap the fish in a piece of aluminum foil, place the package on a cookie sheet, and bake at 450°F for 10 to 15 minutes or until cooked through.