Pescado Zarandeado con Camarones

Fish with Shrimp

Traditionally, pescado zarandeado is a butterflied whole fish grilled over a smoky wood fire or a charcoal fire with added wood chips for smoke. It is heavily basted with a chile garlic sauce while cooking. The grilling produces a nice spicy smoked flavor, but it is not always possible or convenient to cook in this manner, so Adriana will show us how to prepare a tasty variation using the oven.

This dish seems to have originated on the Isle of Mexcaltitán in the state of Nayarit.  In addition to this fish dish, the Isle of Mexcaltitán has also given us the name of México -- but that's another story for another day.

Although Mexcaltitán is in a shrimp fishing area, the traditional dish did not have shrimp which is now added in many parts of México, including in Adriana's house.


The ingredients are tilapia fish, shrimp, Chihuahua cheese., onions, chipotle chiles, heavy (whipping) cream, paprika, two Tone's spice mixes --  Canadian Steak and  Salmon/Seafood (not shown).


Tilapia is a freshwater fish that is widely used in México.  Most any white fish can be used.  Well, maybe not a really soft fish like sole.  Catfish is probably too strong.


A Jack cheese could be used in place of the Chihuahua cheese.  I'd like to try pepper jack.

Adriana begins by laying down a layer of spices -- paprika and the Canadian steak spice mixture.

Then she makes a single layer of the fish fillets which she heavily sprinkles with the seafood spice mixture.

The shrimp are added, and they are sprinkled with the seafood spice mixture.

As I watched Adriana's heavy hand with the spices, I wondered if it would be too much.  Turned out just right.

A layer of onion slices is covered with a layer of Chihuahua cheese.

If I were to change anything, I would sauté the onions in olive oil until soft before adding to the dish.  The onions were not quite done enough for my taste.


A few chipotle chiles were blended into heavy cream and poured over the dish.  Add as many chipotles as your heat index allows.

With an aluminum foil cover, the dish is ready to spend 20-25 minutes in a 170°C = 350°F oven.



What can one say about perfection?

I enjoyed Adriana's creation so much that I decided to try to make it in my little kitchen. 

I made a few changes.  I wanted the onions cooked a bit more, so I sautéed them in some olive oil until they were softened.  Also in the sauté, I included a diced red bell pepper (which I love) and a couple of small garlic cloves.  I am very fond of mushrooms, so I added some to the dish.  Adriana used a chipotle chile to add a bit of heat.  I substituted pepper jack cheese for the chipotle and the Chihuahua cheese.  I used raw shrimp rather than the cooked ones Adriana used.

I don't have an oven in my little galley, so I used an electric skillet which worked well with a much longer cooking time.  This was one of the few times I wished I had an oven.

Three fish fillets on the bottom, 10 mushrooms on top of 12 shrimp and topped with sautéed onions and a diced large red bell. Ready for cheese and cream. 

The final result was very tasty.  I'll do this one again.  However, the pepper jack cheese was a bit more spicy than I really like, so next time I'll use Chihuahua cheese.

Adriana used cooked shrimp; I used raw.  I think the raw shrimp are slightly better -- crunchy but not as tough as the cooked ones turned out.  However, I'm not sure the difference is worth the hassle of pealing the raw ones.

For me, the addition of the red bell and the mushrooms was spot on.

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