Pan Roasted Fish in Aromatic Green Pipián Sauce

Still on the Mexican kick, day 2. Used the leftover tomatillo sauce from yesterday as the base for a luscious dish. Based on a Rick Bayless recipe for salmon, but I used frozen barramundi instead. The sauce is so good it would probably work with pretty much anything from scrod to mackerel. Not difficult, and quick if you pre-make the tomatillo sauce. Very elegant and super delicious, the combination of flavours is exotic yet subtle. Truly a restaurant quality dish. 


  • 2 cups green tomatillo sauce
  • 1-2 Serrano chiles, chopped
  • 1/4 cup sesame seeds, raw
  • 1 fresh Hoya Santa leaf, chopped
  • 1 TB salted butter 
  • 1 lb fish
  • 1 poblano, seared and sliced into strips for rajas


  1. Pre-heat oven to 425F
  2. Melt 1 tsp butter in saucepan. Add sesame seeds and stir to coat and cook over medium heat until they start to colour.
  3. Add chopped chile and Hoya Santa and cook until sesame seeds are lightly brown.
  4. Add tomatillo sauce and simmer gently for a few minutes.
  5. Meanwhile,  melt 1 tsp butter in oven proof [cast iron] skillet or baking dish. Add fish, dot with remaining 1 tsp butter and put in oven. Cook until center reads 145F on instant thermometer, or to desired doneness. 
  6. Transfer sauce to blender and purée until smooth. Be careful because it’s hot. This step can be done with the cold sauce to avoid burns.
  7. Return sauce to pan and simmer while fish cooks.
  8. Spoon sauce onto plates, then add fish and top with more sauce. 
  9. Garnish with poblano rajas, crema Mexicana, and pickled red onion. Serve with warm corn tortillas. 


  • Use epazote, cilantro, and oregano as a substitute for the Hoya Santa. 
  • For a milder sauce use a seeded jalapeño instead of the Serrano. 
  • For dairy free, use olive oil and leave off the cream. 
  • For extra flavour, grease skillet with lard or bacon grease and then top fish with butter. 


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