This recipe takes the classic chimichurri salsa of Argentina and adds a twist with Mexican flavours that give body and delicate flavours to the sauce. Hibiscus flowers are used in Mexico to make a sweet iced-tea called agua de Jamaica, but here their colour and tart flavour add great zest to the plate.
- ½ cup dried hibiscus flowers (see Note), to garnish
- 3 tomatillos
- 2 garlic cloves, peeled
- ¼ cup chopped parsley
- ¼ cup chopped coriander
- 1 tsp Mexican oregano
- 3 Mexican bay leaves (or 1 dry bay leaf)
- 2 tbsp chopped serrano chilli
- 60 ml (¼ cup) olive oil
- 30 ml white vinegar
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 4 x 80 g red snapper fillets, scored ½ cm deep on the skin side
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Soaking time 30 minutes
Soak hibiscus flowers in 1 cup warm water for 30 minutes. Strain and reserve.
Dry-roast the tomatillos in a comal or frying pan on a medium heat for until tender. Reserve.
Crush the garlic and a little salt in a mortar and pestle, then add the remaining salsa ingredients, including the tomatillos, one at a time, crushing gently until well incorporated. Season and reserve.
To make the red snapper, place a 25 cm heavy-based saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the olive oil and season the pan with salt. Quickly add the fish fillets, skin side down, and immediately place a pan on top to ensure the skin sets flat to the heated pan. Remove the top pan after 2 minutes, then continue cooking until the flesh of the fish is cooked two-thirds of the way through, indicated by the change of colour from translucent to white. Turn over to finish cooking (it will need only a little more time).
Serve immediately with salsa verde and garnish with hibiscus flowers.
• Hibiscus flowers are sold as flor de Jamaica in the Mexican section of speciality food stores or Mexican grocers.