Adobo-marinated blue-eye fillets

The adobo recipe makes more marinade than needed but it will last for five days in the fridge, or freeze for up to a month. You can use it to marinate meat, chicken, prawns or any other white-fleshed fish.


  • For the adobo (Makes 1 1/2 cups)
  • 4 ancho chillies (also known as dried poblano chillies, but substitute with other dried chillies if you can't find)
  • 1/4 cup water, for blending
  • 1/2 tbsp orange juice
  • 1 tbsp distilled white vinegar
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp castor sugar
  • Pinch dried oregano
  • Pinch ground cumin

  • For the fish
  • 4 skinless blue-eye fillets
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 4 tbsp adobo (see above)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 lime, cut into wedges


For the adobo, wipe chillies clean with a wet cloth, take off stem, cut in half and remove seeds.

Heat a heavy cast-iron pan on a low to medium heat. Toast the chillies in batches, turning them and pressing down with tongs until they become fragrant, are lightly browned and the skin starts to blister – about 1 1/2 minutes. Place in a bowl and cover with water. Soak for about 30 minutes, until soft. Drain and discard water.

Blend chillies with fresh water and remaining adobo ingredients until smooth, adding more water if needed.

Pat fillets dry with paper towel, season with salt, then coat both sides with adobo marinade. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Heat a heavy cast-iron pan on a medium heat. Add the oil and then add fish pieces, cooking for 2 minutes. Turn over fish and cook for another 2-3 minutes until just cooked through. Allow to rest in a warm place for 5 minutes.

Place the fish on plates, squeeze over fresh lime and serve immediately.

NOTES: Want something to drink?
What this dish needs is a vibrant wine made from the Alvarinho grape, which grows in Spain and Portugal. Try the 2013 Dona Paterna, a Portugese vinho verde. Aromas of lime, bay leaf and stone fruit and a crisp acidity chimes well with the ancho spice.

First published in the Good Weekend.

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