Chillo Frito - Fried Red Snapper
There's nothing better than fried seafood by the ocean! And while we can't bring the ocean to you, we can show you how to make this classic Puerto Rican seafood dish.
Whole Red Snapper (2 fish, about 1 lb each)
3 tbs all purpose flour
3 tbs corn starch
3 tbs corn meal
2 tsp adobo
2 lemons, juiced
2 tbs olive oil
1 tsp salt
2 tbs fresh cilantro
3 green plantains
1 cup water
1 tsp adobo
Let’s start by talking about the fish. I’m using red snapper, but really, you could make this dish with any whole fish. You just want to start by making sure that the fish has been gutted and cleaned, and all of the scales are removed. Once that’s done, give it a good rinse with cold water, making sure to wash off any remains of the cleaning process.
Once you’ve washed your fish, pat it dry with some paper towel. If your fish is too wet, the seasoning won’t stick to it.
Next, lay your fish out on a cutting board and use a heavy pair of scissors to clip off the pectoral fins. I like to remove these, as I feel they get in the way when you are trying to eat the fish. Then, use a sharp knife to score the fish’s skin in three of four parallel cuts, along the length of the body.
Making these cuts does a couple of things. First, it allows your spices to penetrate more deeply into the fish. Second, it creates more surface area to ensure an even, quick cook. And finally, it makes your fish way easier to eat, since there are little compartmentalized chunks.
Once your fish has been scored, drizzle a little bit of olive oil onto the fish and then rub the oil evenly over the fish. Once oiled, season your fish with your black pepper, adobo, and coriander. Then rub the spices into your fish, making sure to get the spices deep into the cuts you made.
With your fish seasoned, let’s prepare our dredge. In a bowl, combine your flour, corn starch, corn meal, and adobo, and mix until combined. Once combined, sprinkle your mixture over your fish, trying to get an even coating over the entire fish, on both sides.
Once your fish has been dredged, we want to let it set for 5-10 minutes. This helps the batter stick to the fish, and also makes for a more crispy coating when you fry it.
While your fish is resting, let’s go ahead and make our mojo. Start by juicing your two lemons into a blender. Then add your olive oil, salt, and cilantro, and then blend your mixture for 20-30 seconds, until the cilantro is all chopped up. Once blended, pour your mojo into a cup and set it aside for later.
This is also a good time to start preparing your tostones. Start by peeling your plantains. To do this use a sharp knife to score the skin in three or four places, along the length of the plantain. Once that’s done, use your hands to peel away the plantain’s skin. Once peeled, cut your plantains into pieces about one and a half inches long.
Since you need to fry your tostones twice, go ahead and do the first fry now, before you fry your fish. That way, your fish won’t get soggy while you wait to fry your tostones.
Because we are going to use the same oil to fry both the tostones and the fish, select a large, heavy pan that will fit your entire fish and add enough oil to cover your fish. Turn your stove on, and heat the oil up to 320 degrees Fahrenheit.
Once your oil is hot, fry your plantain pieces for 8 minutes, or until they are fork tender. Once they are done, remove them from the oil and let them cool down. Once cool enough to handle, use a dish with a flat bottom to smash the plantain pieces into tostones, about half an inch thick.
Once your plantains are smashed, let’s go ahead and fry our fish. Turn up the heat on your oil until it reaches 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
Once your oil is hot, gently shake any excess flour off your fish and lower it into the hot oil. Do your best to fully submerge the fish. Fry your fish for three minutes on one side and then gently flip it over and fry for another three minutes on the other side. If part of your fish’s fin is sticking out of the oil, use a spoon or your tongs to gently splash oil onto the exposed part, to ensure that it gets cooked too.
After a combined 6 minutes of frying, pull your fish out of the oil and let it rest on a cooling rack. The cooling rack will allow all of the excess oil to drip off your fish while keeping it crisp.
Once your fish is fried, go ahead and fry your tostones the second time. In order to make sure your tostones are properly seasoned, combine one cup of water with 1 teaspoon of adobo in a small bowl. Then, dip your tostones in the water, before dropping them into the hot oil. This way, the water will evaporate as your tostones fry, and the adobo will stick to them.
Fry your tostones until they are golden brown and crispy. Once everything is fried, arrange it on your serving dish and drizzle the fish with your mojo.
Now you are all ready to enjoy!
Check out our instructional video, showing how to make this recipe step-by-step HERE.