Since I know that The Moosewood Cookbook is a vegetarian cookbook (as its parent restaurant is also vegetarian), I was surprised to come across a recipe that was intended to be served with fish. Mostly I was attracted to the recipe as a stand-alone sauce because it comes from Latin America (Yucatán region of México) but as I read on, I knew I wanted to try it with fish. Serving the sauce over a big plate of rice is not a dietary option for me right now!
The Recipe: Salsa Yucateca
The Ingredients: Rather than make a separate trip to the Latin market for pure achiote, I used what I had on hand which was Sazón Goya with Achiote. A friend of mine is addicted to adding this to almost everything she cooks, and you still get the nice reddish-orange color out of it. I also used a lower-sugar orange juice that has stevia in it.
The Sauce: I ended up partially blending it with an immersion blender to make it just a tad smoother after this picture was taken. The sauce smelled so delicious and citrus-y while it was simmering!
Prepping the fish: Since it was not explicitly stated in the directions, I looked up cooking instructions for the fish. I lightly greased the baking pan, laid the fish flat, and poured the salsa yucateca on top. Then I baked it in a pre-heated 350F oven for 25-30 minutes.
Final product: The traditional way and my low-carb portion without rice.
I was excited to try this and my husband cleaned his plate even though he initially said he didn´t like fish (we have been married for 2 years and I am still figuring out his palate!). I thought the citrus flavor was the dominant one while he said he didn´t even taste the orange or lemon juice. He said the chile in the sauce was great (and there is no chile!). I also love olives and I couldn´t even taste the ones in this sauce. I would be interested to hear if anyone else tries this–which flavors come out most for you?
Education notes: I absolutely loved taking the environmental education focus area classes for my M.Ed. program, and every time I think of seafood, I think of getting out the word about sustainability. Talking to students about fishing and fish-farming methods as well as ecology, populations, and carrying capacities is a great way to get them thinking about their role in the larger environment. I don´t eat seafood often, but when I do, I try to refer to a guide to help make better choices regarding fishing practices, such as this one from the Monterrey Bay Aquarium, available as an app or as a printable pocket guide.
I used “Alaskan Cod, wild caught, product of the US.” Depending on which part of the label you use, it could either be a pretty good (“product of the US”) or pretty bad (“wild caught” if it were imported) choice. This is the difficulty with deciphering labels and making educated choices–unclear or non-standard terms can be misleading. In this case, I am going to hope that I made a good choice for the environment as well as for my health.