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The Fish, The Whole Fish, and Nothing But The Fish By Abi Carver

Inspired by her travels and experiences, Miriam’s cooking style combines classical Western techniques with Mexican flavors and traditions and a commitment to seasonal ingredients. In Puerto Vallarta, she is best known for her range of salsas and her legendary cookery classes. Her teaching has become so popular that she will soon be offering Gourmet Breaks for visitors seeking total immersion in authentic Mexican cuisine.

Miriam teaches basic cooking techniques and consciously keeps her recipes open to allow for greater experimentation and creativity. She encourages her students to take account of what is in season and not to be put off if they can’t get hold of the exact ingredients specified. This recipe comes from one of her recent cooking classes. Roasting a whole fish is the aquatic equivalent of roasting a chicken. You have a blank slate on which to be creative.

So if salmon is not in season, choose a fish that is. And similarly, if you can’t find whole fish, you can substitute fillets.

Catch Of The Day Wrapped In Banana Leaves

one or several whole fish, the freshest you can find (wild salmon, trout, sea bass or red snapper) banana leaves, baking parchment or aluminium foil

seasonal herbs, roughly chopped (basil, parsley or coriander)
lemons or limes, sliced
olive oil
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Preheat oven to 180°C.

Cut the banana leaf so that it is approximately 1 foot square and lay it on your work surface. Cut a piece of parchment paper to the same dimensions and place it on top. If you are unable to find banana leaves you can cook the fish in baking parchment ‘en papillote’ or aluminium foil. Position the fish in the centre of your paper or leaf.

Fill the cavity with herbs and slices of lemon, lime or a combination. Drizzle the fish with olive oil and season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Fold in the sides of the wrapping over the fish and also at the ends to create a square parcel. Turn it over to secure.

Place the parcel on a baking tray and cook for 15 minutes. Check if the fish is cooked by gently pulling back the flesh at the thickest part with a fork. If it is opaque and no longer transparent the fish is cooked. Otherwise, return it to the oven for a further 5-10 minutes.

Spanish Red Pepper Sauce

3 red peppers
½ medium onion, roughly chopped
4-5 cloves garlic, crushed
50ml olive oil
1 lemon, juice and zest
1 teaspoon coriander seeds
4-5 sprigs of thyme
sea salt & freshly ground black pepper

To dry roast the red peppers, first put a frying pan on a medium-high heat.

Then place the peppers in the pan and using tongs, keep rotating them until the skins start to pop and blister. Then place them in a bowl, cover with cling film and allow them to sweat for 5 minutes before peeling, de-veining and de-seeding them.

Meanwhile, heat the olive oil on a low heat in a medium-sized saucepan and cook the onions and garlic until softened and lightly caramelised. Put the mixture into a food processor with the dry-roasted peppers and the remaining ingredients and blend until smooth. Return the mixture to the saucepan and re-heat for about 2-3 minutes.

Serve the roasted fish with the red pepper sauce and seasonal leaves or steamed vegetables. Delicioso!

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