Yucatán-style baked fish with sweetcorn rice

Yucatán-style baked fish with sweetcorn rice

Chris Middleton

When I think of the Yucatán Peninsula I smile – with its great fishing, white beaches and interesting food, I believe it will become a serious holiday destination in the near future. This dish was a highlight of my trip and, once you master all the Mexican techniques and select your favourite accompaniments, this will be a regular crowd-pleaser at your dinner table. For the dish to stay moist, select fish with a high oil content like salmon, ocean trout, kingfish or river trout. Farmed fish are also good choices for this dish as the marinade boosts the flavour profile – Murray cod, barramundi, yellow tail, halibut or sea bass would be my picks.


Quantity Ingredient
8 Tortilla dough, large homemade masa flour tortillas
or 8 store-bought tortillas
Smoky rojo sauce
Sweetcorn rice

Fish parcel

Quantity Ingredient
500g kingfish fillet
100g Achiote relish
1 x 40cm length of banana leaf
1 x 20 length of baking paper
1 ripe ox-heart tomato, sliced
Mexican-style pickles
1 handful coriander, with root attached
wooden skewer, to secure


Quantity Ingredient
1 large handful coriander leaves
1 large handful mint leaves
olive oil, for drizzling
3 cheeks limes


  1. For the fish parcel, place the fillet on a plate and rub with achiote relish to coat. Cover and refrigerate for 2–3 hours.
  2. Soak the banana leaf in boiling water for about 10 minutes, or until pliable.
  3. Place the banana leaf out on a clean work surface and put the piece of baking paper in the centre. Place the marinated fish in the middle of the paper. Top with the tomato slices, some of the pickles and the coriander. Fold the lefthand side of the banana leaf over, then fold up the ends, securing in place with the skewer. If the parcel looks unstable you can also wrap it in foil for added protection when cooking.
  4. Preheat a barbecue with a lid to 160°C. Alternatively the fish can be cooked in the oven.
  5. To cook the fish, place the parcel on the grill, close the lid and bake for 20 minutes. To test if the fish is cooked, insert a metal skewer or roasting fork into the centre of the parcel and into the fish. If it is warm when removed, the heat has transferred through the fish and it will be cooked. Remove from the grill and set aside for 5 minutes.
  6. Heat a medium non-stick frying pan over high heat. Lightly spray with oil and briefly fry the tortillas to warm. Stack the tortillas, wrap in a warm, damp tea towel and set aside to keep warm.
  7. To serve, organise the smoky rojo sauce, the remaining pickles, rice and tortillas in serving dishes on the table. Transfer the fish onto a platter and unwrap at the table. Sprinkle with the herbs, drizzle with oil and serve with lime cheeks.
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