Pescado a la Velacruzana

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 (Big Star)

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The inspiration for this Cinco de Mayo dish was spring in Chicago. I wanted to create a dish that was both fresh and light, but also felt deeply rooted in the Midwest. Pescado a la Velacruzana is a wonderful dish to enjoy in celebration of Cinco de Mayo; a Midwestern take on Mexican fare.


Ingredients for Refried Black Beans:

  • 8 ounce dry black beans
  • 1/2 Onion, whole and peeled
  • 3 Sprigs of epazote
  • Extra virgin olive oil

Ingredients for Salsa Morita:

  • 1 White onion, chopped
  • 4 Morita chiles, cleaned and torn into pieces
  • 3 Guajillo chiles, cleaned and torn into pieces
  • 2 Arbol chiles, cleaned and torn into pieces
  • 3 Cloves of garlic, crushed
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoon apple cider vinegar, or to taste
  • Salt to taste

Ingredients for Smoked Tomato and Ramp Salad:

  • 1/2 pound ramps, charred and chopped
  • 8 ounce grape tomatoes, halved and lightly smoked
  • 1/4 Red onion, julienne
  • 1/4 Bunch of cilantro, cleaned and picked
  • Lime juice, to taste
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Extra virgin olive oil

Ingredients for Pescado a la Velacruzana:

  • 4 Fillets of Dorade, cleaned
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt, to taste


Refried Black Beans:

  • In boiling water, cook all ingredients until tender. Puree in a food processor, re-fry in a little bit of oil, adding water until at a mash potato consistency. Salt to taste.

Salsa Morita:

  • Saute onion until translucent, add garlic and cook until golden brown. Add chiles, and toast for two minutes. De-glaze with one cup of water and remove from heat. Let chiles re-hydrate for five minutes. Blend to a puree, re-fry in olive oil and season with remaining ingredients.

Smoked Tomato and Ramp Salad:

  • Toss all ingredients in a bowl, and season with lime juice, salt, pepper and extra virgin olive oil. Set aside.

Pescado a la Velacruzana:

  • Season fish with salt, and fry in a pan over high heat with a little bit of oil to coat the pan. Fry skin side down until golden brown, flip over and repeat. To serve divide Refried Black Beans among four plates, next lay the fish on top, ladle Salsa Morita on top and garnish with Smoked Tomato and Ramp Salad.