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Puerto Vallarta

Joe Jack’s Red Snapper

I blogged about Joe Jack’s Fish Shack in Puerto Vallarta because of this dish.  Every time I go down there this is #1 on my list of things to eat.  It’s so fresh, full of flavor and light at the same time.  Hands down one of my favorite dishes and now I have the recipe for myself thanks to the oh-so-friendly owner who had no hesitation in giving it to me the last time I was down there (thank you!).  And now I’m sharing it with you!

Each fish serves about 2

Ingredients

  • 1.5 -2 lb red snapper or other whole fish (scaled and gutted, very important)
  • 1-2 teaspoons of “huacho salt”
  • 4 Tablespoons of slivered garlic olive oil
  • 5-8 cloves of garlic poached in butter
  • 5-7 whole dry chile de arbol
  • 2 Tablespoons fresh squeezed lime juice

Huacho salt

  • 2 Tablespoons fennel seeds
  • 1 Tablespoon coriander seeds
  • 1 Tablespoon cumin seeds
  • 2 Tablespoons whole black pepper
  • 5 ea. Clove
  • 1 stick cinnamon (broken)
  • 4 chile de arbol (seeds o.k.)
  • 12 Tablespoons kosher or sea salt

yields about 1 ½ cups

Directions

Huacho Salt:

Toast all spices except salt and black peppercorns in a sauté pan on very low heat until smoking. Let cool and add black peppercorns. Grind in a spice grinder (coffee grinder) or blender or morder and pestle. Combine with the salt.

You can save and use this on anything. It will add a great interesting flavor to anything you can imagine.

Poached garlic:

IMG_6782To poach the garlic, slowly heat butter (enough to cover) and garlic cloves until cloves  just give to the touch. You can do more of this as well and just keep it in the fridge to use later in the week, but not too long as it will get rancid.

Whole Red Snapper:

IMG_6787Score the fish three or four times (or more if its bigger fish) on each side and liberally season with the salt mixture. Liberally douse the fish with the slivered garlic oil on one side and place on a medium temperature griddle or grill or large sauté pan or even a baking dish (preheat oven to 425˚F if using oven method), again liberally slather the top side with the same.  (feel free to stuff the fish with garden herbs and lemon or lime and if it’s a bigger fish also liberally salt the inside of cavity as well)

Place on griddle or grill or sauté pan on one side and cover. If its in an oven do not cover (cook for approx. 30 mins, 15 mins on each side or when done).

When fish is about half done on topside, flip the fish to the other side and cover again.

When the “new” topside is just cooked or rather almost cooked to the bone (the scores let you peek). You are pretty assured that the downside is also done.

Note:  an important thing to remember is that over cooked fish is way worse than under cooked fish. Most likely the residual heat from the cooking, will continue cooking the fish at the bone.

Place the fish on a serving platter.

IMG_6794In a separate hot sauté pan, put in the butter and poached garlic, a pinch of salt, and four or five more whole chilies. When the butter starts to brown, add the lime juice, and pour it all over the fish.  Garnish with fresh cilantro leaves, lime halves, and serve with fresh tortillas and beans and rice.

Vitea – Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

This is always a must for breakfast when we make our way down to PV.  Although they’re open for lunch and dinner as well, I’ve only ever been for breakfast.  I get the same thing every time…the chilaquiles with chicken.  It’s large and can easily be shared.  I think about this dish a lot when I’m gone and always look forward to going back when I’m in town.  The beans that are served with it are SO good…I could probably go for two servings of those:)  I almost forgot to mention that with your breakfast you get a selection of sweet breads to munch on.  My personal favorite is the sugar one…yum!  You won’t be sorry you went here.  The food is outstanding, the service is great and the location gives you a great view of the ocean along with some great people watching.  (Dogs are welcome outside!)

Joe Jack’s Fish Shack – Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

My dad and his wife have a home in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico where we’re lucky enough to go visit from time to time.  I always get my Mexican food fix while down there but I also indulge in all the fresh seafood.  One of my favorites spots is Joe Jack’s Fish Shack.  Chef Joe Jack moved from San Francisco (previous owner and chef of Luna Park…another old favorite of mine in SF) to PV and opened the Fish Shack in 2005 in hopes of showcasing traditional seafood (and Mexican comfort food) at the same time creating a great vibe.  The best spot in house is on the exposed roof deck.  You don’t have to worry about rain that often in PV which is nice.

My all time favorite dish (that I think about quite often) is the Whole Pacific Red Snapper.  It’s covered with roasted chilies, garlic and lime and couldn’t be more tasty.  I LOVE it!!!  Their ceviche is also amazing…so fresh and full of flavor.  Talking about it makes me want to fly down there just to have this:)

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