Fish with Cold Walnut Sauce

De Arbol (Capsicum Annuum) means tree like in Spanish. The plant has thick, upright, woody stems and the chile itself is narrow, curved and bright red in color. Believed to be closely related to the pequin, the De Arbol is thin fleshed, with tannic, smoky, grassy flavor and searing heat. This chile has a heat range of 7.5 on the heat scale of 1-10. De Arbol Chiles are comparable to a Cayenne Pepper. Scoville heat units 15,000 to 30,000.

Suggested Use:
De Arbol is a hot chile and a staple in Southwest kitchens. Add some heat to your next salsa or Mexican dish. Be adventurous and add them to your next stew or chili along with the other spices. Add some heat to your next salsa or Mexican dish.

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4 dried arbol chiles, seeds and stems removed and roasted
3/4 cup chopped green onions, both white and green sections
2 large cloves garlic
1 cup walnut meats or roasted peanuts
1 cup grated Muenster cheese
1/2 to 3/4 cup half-and-half
Salt and black pepper to taste
For the fish:
4 sea bass fillets or 4 whole trout (about 12 oz each)
Salt and ground black pepper
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
2 Tbsp butter
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
Green olives or capers to garnish


Blending sauce: In a blender or food processor, puree the roasted chiles, green onions, garlic, walnuts, cheese, and half-and-half. The mixture should resemble a thick mayonnaise. Continue blending, pouring in additional half-and-half to create the consistency of thick cream. Season with salt and pepper. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use. Makes 3 cups.

Rinse the fish under cold running water and pat dry. Generously season with salt and pepper. Dredge in flour, shaking off the excess. In a large skillet, melt the butter and oil over medium heat. Saute the fillets approximately 4 minutes on each side, depending on thickness, or until the flesh is no longer opaque. Serve immediately accompanied by the cold walnut sauce. Garnish with green olives.

Serves 6.

From Celebracion by Regina Cordova.