Sizzling Snapper with Diablo Sauce

The Guajillo (wha-hee-oh) chile is the most common dried chile in Mexico after the Ancho. The flavor of the Guajillo is distinct, slightly fruity with a strong piney, berry under taste. Guajillo flavors dished easily so a little goes a long way. This chile is between a 2-4 on the heat scale of 1-10. Guajillo, combined with the Passilla and Ancho, form the holy trinity of chiles used to prepare the traditional mole sauces.

Suggested Use:
A mildly hot chile. Use in sauces, salsa, soups and your favorite chile. A little goes a long way.

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Salsa Del Diablo:

1/4 pound tomatoes (1/2 medium-large round or 2 to 3 plum)
5 chiles guajillos, stemmed and seeded
3 chiles costenos rojos, stemmed and seeded, or 3 chiles de arbol
1/4 medium white onion, thickly sliced
5 garlic cloves
1 tsp. fresh Oaxacan oregano or 1/2 tsp. dried
2 whole allspice
3 black peppercorns
2 Tbsp. white vinegar
1-1/2 tsp. Worchestershire sauce
1 tsp. butter
1 tsp. sunflower or vegetable oil
1 bay leaf
1/2 tsp. salt, or more to taste


2 large banana leaves, fresh, or (substitute frozen) approximately 1/2 pound
2-1/2 pounds whole sea bass, red snapper or striped bass, butterflied or fillets
4 Tbsp. (1/2 stick) soft butter, to coat the foil and fish
Salt and pepper mixed, to sprinkle on fish
3 Tbsp. worchestershire sauce
3 Tbsp Maggi sauce
1/2 pound tomatoes (1 medium-large round or 4 to 5 plum) thinly sliced
1/2 medium white onion, thinly sliced
5 bay leaves
2 Tbsp. finely chopped parsley leaves


In a small saucepan, bring 2 cups of water to a boil. Cut an “x” in the bottom of the tomatoes. Place the tomatoes in the boiling water and boil for 5 minutes. Remove the tomatoes from the pot and reserve the water. When the tomatoes are cool enough to handle, remove and discard the skins.

On a dry comal, griddle or in a cast-iron frying pan, toast the chiles until they give off their aroma. Place in a bowl and cover with reserved tomato water. Soak for 20 minutes and remove the chiles from the water. Reserve the water.

On the same comal, roast the onion and garlic for 8-10 minutes over medium heat or until transparent.

Place the chiles, tomatoes, onion, garlic, oregano, allspice, peppercorns, vinegar, and worcestershire sauce in a blender and blend well with the 1/2 cup of chile soaking water. Pour through a strainer to remove the skins.

In a medium frying pan, heat the butter and oil. Pour in the chile mixture add the bay leaf. Fry for 5 minutes. Add salt.

Holding the banana leaves with tongs, pass the leaves over a gas flame to soften them. If you dont have a flame handy, you can boil them until soft, about 20 minutes, covered. Remove and set aside.

Cook Fish:

Heat a long griddle that covers 2 burners until very hot. Open the fish so it is lying flat, skin side down.

Cut a piece of heavy-duty aluminum foil twice the size of the fish. Totally butter one half of the foil. Place the banana leaf on the buttered portion of the foil. Lay the fish skin side down, on top of the leaf. Sprinkle salt and pepper over the fish. Spoon 1/4 cup of the salsa del diablo over the fish. Sprinkle the Worcestershire and Maggi sauce over the fish, including the head. Dot butter over the fish. Add the tomato and onion slices. Add the bay leaves and parsley. Cover the fish with the banana leaf. Pull the foil over the top of the fish and seal by folding over the edges. It is important to have a good seal on all 3 edges, so the steam does not escape during cooking process. Carefully move fish over to the grill and cook for 10 minutes. The foil should fully puff up in the process. Watch the foil to make sure that the steam is not escaping. If it is, reseal the fish. Serve immediately with totadas or totopos.

Recipe from Susanna Trilling, “Cooking Live,” Food Network.