Take a look at the history of Mexican cuisine and you will see the ‘barbacoa’ features prominently. Cooking meat, poultry and fish over flames not only finishes it perfectly but also adds that lovely smoky flavor. Whether you love to cook outdoors as often as you can or whether you only do it occasionally, it is worth making the following recipe if you are looking for an alternative to the standard burger, chicken drumstick and steaks that usually end up on the grill. This recipe combines fish with a delicious, complex sauce, and this is authentically Mexican.
We are using cod in this recipe because it goes so well with the sauce, although if you prefer chicken or pork, either of those is also a good match for green mole sauce. Just take your pick or make some of each if you think different people will want different proteins. If cod sounds good to you, then you will need cod steaks – boneless of course. One of the things that makes cod so appealing is its big chunky flakes, but also its distinctive taste. If you want to use another sort of fish, consider snapper, monkfish, tilapia, or even langoustines. Any of these will be nice with the sauce.
What is Mole Sauce?
The word ‘mole’ which is pronounced MOH-lay, is a generic term for Mexican sauces. Mole poblano, a brown sauce, is the kind most often found outside Mexico, although the word refers to all kinds of sauces in Mexico, such as the following green mole. All of these sauces include at least one kind of chili pepper. The dry ingredients are toasted and then blended with the other ones. The finished sauce is then cooked gently and served over meat, fish, poultry, or even vegetables. A lot of the recipes are quite intricate, and some moles have as many as 30 different ingredients, offering a complex but well-rounded flavor.
The cod is cooked on the barbeque over a direct heat. If you prefer to cook the fish indirectly that is also possible. To do that, arrange preheated coals around a drip pan and cook the fish on the grate over the drip pan for 10 minutes, with the lid down. You can start making the mole sauce first then cook the fish and keep the sauce warm. You can then serve everything at the same time. The mole sauce is made with fantastic ingredients like nuts, cream, tamarind, cumin, chilies, and molasses. All of these flavors blend together beautifully and the resulting sauce is really special.
How to Serve Mole Cod
This amazing recipe is well worth making, but what are you going to serve it with? The fish is simply seasoned with salt and black pepper and the sauce is rich and creamy. That means a relatively plain, simple side dish is the best option, whether you fancy boiled or baked potatoes with the fish, or something like fries or a vegetable like broccoli or corn on the cob. A mixed green salad is another idea, although a tomato salad might be more attractive because of the contrasting colors.
- 4 cod fish steaks, ¾ to 1 inch thick, and 6 oz each
- ½ cup shelled pistachios
- ½ cup pumpkin seeds
- ½ cup heavy cream
- 1 tablespoon tamarind paste
- ½ cup pine nuts
- 1 cup white vinegar
- 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 cup chicken bouillon
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 8 oz canned diced green chilies
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- ¼ cup molasses
- Salt and black pepper, to season cod
- Prepare the barbeque for direct grilling over a medium heat.
- Grease the grill, because you will not want your cod to stick.
- Dry toast the pine nuts, pistachios, seeds, cumin and chili powder in a sauté pan for 2 minutes or until fragrant.
- Pour them into a food processor along with the diced chilies.
- Blend then add the molasses and vinegar and whiz again.
- Drizzle in 1 cup of the oil and mix until incorporated.
- Pour this mixture into a pan.
- Add the cream and chicken bouillon to the pan with the nut mixture.
- Whisk until smooth over a low heat, then keep it warm while you cook the fish.
- Rub the rest of the oil over the cod and season on both sides with salt and black pepper.
- Cook it for about 10 minutes on the greased grill rack.
- When it begins to flake, it is done.
- Serve this sauce over the cod.
If mole sauce is a new concept to you, prepare to fall in love with this classic Mexican recipe. You can serve it with fish, chicken or pork, perhaps garnished with some vegetables, a lemon slice and some finely chopped fresh herbs like you see in the photo, or with bread or potatoes if you prefer. Mole sauce had more ingredients than many other sauces but it is well worth making for the amazing flavor, and it complements the cod fish beautifully. If you are in the mood for an authentic Mexican dish and you want to cook it outdoors, this is the perfect solution.
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