6 servings
20 min prep, 10 min cooking, 30 min total

Pescado Rodrigo is one of the most beloved dishes in Mexico City. I make it at least a couple of times a month. Fresh fish, seared until crispy then drizzled with a chunky citrus sauce, is the seafood to stuff into a corn tortilla for tacos. The recipe comes from the Bellinghausen, a classic old-school Mexico City restaurant, established in 1915 and cherished by many families, including ours. Its old hacienda style, complete with tiles and a working fountain, is so dignified and grandiose that my sisters and I used to dress to the nines to eat there on Sundays. The menu never changes, ever. And it doesn't need to.

Serve with warm corn tortillas.

Mexican Cook's Trick: Once the fish fillets are cooked, you can either serve the fish fillets whole with the sauce drizzled on top, or like I do: flake the fish and serve it on a platter, drizzled with the sauce and ready to make tacos.

  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced scallions, white and light green parts only
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro leaves
  • 2 tablespoons chopped jalapeño or serrano chile, seeded optional, or to taste
  • 1 tablespoon Maggi sauce or soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 6 tilapia filets (about 6 ounces each), or other mild, white fish such as sea bass, grouper, red snapper or rock fish, gently rinsed and patted dry
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher or coarse sea salt, or to taste
  • Pinch of freshly ground black pepper, or to taste
  • All-purpose flour to dust the fish filets
  • Vegetable oil for sautéing
  • Corn tortillas, warmed

1. In a mixing bowl, combine the scallions, cilantro, jalapeño, Maggi sauce, lime juice and olive oil and stir to mix well. Set aside for at least 15 minutes. At this point, you can store the mixture, covered, in the refrigerator until ready to use. Taste for salt before serving.

2. Sprinkle the fish filets with salt and pepper. Place the flour on a large plate and coat each fillet thoroughly on both sides.

3. Place a large 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat. Pour in the vegetable oil to a depth of 1/4 inch and heat until hot but not smoking, about 2 minutes. Add the fish in batches, if necessary, to avoid crowding, and sear about 3 minutes per side. Don't fiddle with them; let the bottom brown thoroughly so they release from the pan. Flip and brown the other side. The fish is ready when the thickest part is cooked through and it flakes easily with a fork.

4. Place the fish on a platter and pour the sauce on top.

From Pati's Mexican Table: Secrets of Real Mexican Home Cooking by Pati Jinich. Copyright © 2013 Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. Reprinted with permission.