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Tilapia with Plums, Pasilla and Tequila

6 servings
Huachinango con Salsa de Ciruela, Pasilla y Tequila


  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil, plus 2 more for cooking the fish
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 1/2 cups slivered white onion
  • 3 cloves garlic, pressed or minced
  • 4 ripe plums, halved, pitted, sliced
  • 4 to 6 pasilla chiles, stemmed, seeded, sliced
  • 1/4 teaspoon brown sugar, or to taste
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher or coarse sea salt, or to taste, plus more to season the fish
  • 2 tablespoons silver tequila
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
  • freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 6 tilapia fillets (about 6 ounces), skin on, or another flaky and mild tasting fish of your choice such as red snapper, rock fish, or grouper

To Prepare

  • Heat the oil and butter in a large heavy skillet set over medium heat. Once the butter melts and begins to sizzle, before it browns, add the onion. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes, until it softens and begins to gently brown around the edges. Add the garlic, mix well and cook for another minute. Toss in the sliced plums and chiles, sprinkle in the sugar and salt, stir, and cook for about 6 to 7 minutes. The plums should be cooked and gently browned and the chiles softened.
  • Pour in the tequila, gently tilt towards the fire to ignite it, cook until flames disappear. Add the orange juice, stir, and cook for a couple minutes more. Set aside.
  • Heat a couple tablespoons oil in a large heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Season the fish with a sprinkle of salt and freshly ground pepper. Sear the fish, skin side down first, for 2 to 3 minutes, until skin has crisped and browned. Flip the fish to the other side and cook until desired doneness, my choice is 2 to 3 minutes more.
  • Serve with a generous spoonfull of the chunky plum sauce on top.