This very savory and highly seasoned fish is served cold or at room temperature, and it is traditionally served with Cuban Black Beans. We added ham shanks to the beans for an extra boost of flavor. It is a perfect meal to enjoy any day of the week, any time of the year.
My mother, a native Salvadoreña, is taking me on a kitchen tour, teaching me all of her favorite childhood and lifetime collected recipes. I will become her willing pupil, ready to learn everything she has to teach me. Because these are dishes that would otherwise be forgotten, if no-one took the time to learn, document, and continue to pass them on to the next generation.
Come; take a comfortable seat at our cozy table. Dinner is served!
This side dish recipe serves 6-8
STEPS 1 (dredge):
Have ready: Mix 1½ cups all-purpose flour, 6 tablespoons sea salt, and 1 teaspoon black pepper
STEPS 2 (frying fish):
1 cup olive oil for cooking (more or less as needed for depth of 1/2-inch)
Seasoned flour from steps 1
3½ pounds halibut (cut [roughly] into 5x2 inch pieces, and about 1/2-inch thickness), lightly coated/brushed with extra-virgin olive oil
- In a medium to large sauté pan, on the large burner, set on medium, heat oil
- Dredge fish in seasoned flour, and cook fish until light-golden brown, 3 to 4 minutes per side (do not overcook fish). Place cooked fish on [deep] platter for marinating. Reserve whatever oil remains in the pan for sautéing vegetables in next steps.
STEPS 3 (marinade & putting it all together):
Reserved oil from fish fry
1 large red onion, peeled, sliced into 3/8-inch half moons
3 medium bell peppers, seeded, 1/2-inch strips sliced
6 large garlic cloves, peeled, thinly sliced
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon coriander
1½ cups apple cider vinegar
12 ounces seedless olives (we used jalapeño stuffed)
1/3 cup capers
- In the same pan fish fried in (with reserved oil), on medium heat, add onion thru coriander, and cook about 10 minutes.
- Add the rest of the ingredients: salt thru capers, and cook, covered, on medium-low heat, an additional 10-15 minutes, or until the bell peppers are just pliable and slightly tender (do not let the peppers get mushy soft, you want some texture left).
- Remove from heat, and immediately, but carefully, pour over the cooked fish. Allow to cool completely before refrigerating. Allow to marinate at least 2 hours, and preferably 24 hours for optimum flavor.
Serve with Cuban Black Beans (optional), recipe follows below.
Cuban Black Beans with Ham Shanks
Steps 1 (cooking ham shanks):
Note: These shanks were cooked in a crock pot, 12-hours overnight.
2 pounds meaty ham shanks
1/2 onion, peeled and finely chopped
1 cup chicken stock
1/2 cup brandy
1 bay leaf
In a medium to large crock pot add all ingredients, cover and set to low. Cook 8-12 hours, or until almost falling-apart tender. When ready, break up into comfortable eating chunks, and reserve meat and its liquid to add to beans later.
Steps 2 (putting it together):
1 pound black beans, picked over for rocks, rinsed and [preferably] soaked overnight in cold water.
4 cups chicken stock (enough to cover beans about 1/2 to 1 inch)
2 tablespoons [rendered] bacon fat, or lard
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, peeled, finely diced
6 large garlic cloves, peeled, minced
1 bell pepper, seeded, medium diced
1 bay leaf
A light sprinkle of sea salt
1 (6-oz) can tomato paste
Cooked hams shanks with cooking broth
Salt to taste
- Place strained beans (from the overnight water) into a large-enough pot, add chicken stock, and bring to a rapid boil. Cover pot, lower heat to keep a light simmer going. Meanwhile…
- In a sauté pan heat fats to sizzling, add the vegetables, bay leaf and salt and cook until onions are translucent. Immediately add sautéed veggies mixture to the cooking beans, bring to another quick boil, lower to a simmer, cover pot, and cook until bean are just beginning to get tender, about 2 hours. Then…
- After the 2 hours or so, add the paste, the ham, and adjust salt to taste. Simmer, covered, for 30-45 minutes or until the beans are tender to your personal liking.
Cook with heart; eat with gusto. Buen Provecho!