25 Apr Special of the Day~ Catch of the Day from Sufi Punta Mita
It was our pleasure indeed being treated like queens at the Kings’ Punta Mita penthouse during our recent girls’ getaway to paradise. Our most hospitable hostess Sonja King graciously accommodated the seven amigas, friends for over thirty years now, sharing her slice-of-heaven luxury hacienda in Punta Mita, Mexico, a beachfront village situated at the north end of Banderas Bay, ten miles north of Puerto Vallarta.
Our recipe for total relaxation started with gathering on the veranda couches for catching up over coffee and an unbelievable view of the beach before sitting down to a beautiful breakfast spread prepared by Yolanda, who presented classic Mexican dishes like Huevos Rancheros and Chilaquiles, accompanied by fabulous fresh fruit platters daily. Daytime pleasure included walks along the beach, swimming in the ocean, lounging by the pool, ocean paddle-boarding by the brave, and enjoying the occasional Giant Skinny Margarita to stay hydrated throughout the day.
Returning home in the late afternoon, we were welcomed with freshly made guacamole and salsa, courtesy of Yolanda, to enjoy during happy hour at the hacienda. How incredibly spoiled we were all week long!
Keeping it local in Punta Mita, we soon found out, meant taking advantage of the fabulous fresh fish offerings on restaurant menus. During our first dinner out, we saw just how fresh the fish was in Punta Mita, as servers strutted through our beachfront restaurant with recently-caught red snapper proudly displayed on a wooden pole for all to see.
When you’re this close to the ocean, it’s wise to order the fish, whether it’s fish tacos, the coconut shrimp or the Catch of the Day, which we saw highlighted on the menu several times.
My most memorable meal in Mexico was our Friday evening out at Sufi Punta Mita, at the Playa Fortuna Beach Club, an elegant restaurant perched above the Punta Fortuna beach with breathtaking views of the Bay of Banderas that serves an exotic fusion of Mediterranean and Mexican food. Their Catch of the Day was to-die-for, an unusual combination of creamed spinach with shallots and garlic, fried plantain, Dijon-shallot-caper sauce, tender flaky flavorful fish and fried dill, making for a palatable party on your plate.
How excited I was when I followed up with Cesar Martinez, Sufi General Manager, who said it would be his pleasure to share the recipe with me for my column. What a wonderful memory of our trip!
If you go…
Sufi Punta Mita
Playa Fortuna Beach Club
(329) 298 73 17
If not, bring some Mexican flavor to your dinner party repertoire this spring and summer and try this recipe to impress your guests, for sure.
While Sufi’s recipe called for amberfish, mahi mahi or bass, I used a fresh halibut fillet, and it worked perfectly.
Every bite brings a new layer of delectable flavor. Because of this, the recipe has several separate components, but prepping ahead will simplify the process. You can definitely make the white sauce ahead of time, and stir together the creamed spinach before preparing the fish. Frying the plantains and the dill can be done while the fish is baking in the oven. One bite of the finished product will prove that it’s worth all the effort.
With thanks to General Manager Cesar Martinez comes a terrific taste of Punta Mita and this week’s Special of the Day~ Catch of the Day from Sufi Punta Mita.
Catch of the Day
Recipe courtesy of Cesar Martinez, General Manager, Sufi Punta Mita
Make the white sauce:
2 tbsp. heavy cream
½ cup mayonnaise
2 tsp. Dijon mustard
2 tsp. fresh dill, minced
2 tsp. shallots, minced
½ tsp. lemon rind, grated
1 tsp. capers, drained
¼ tsp. Kosher salt
1/8 tsp. freshly ground pepper
In small mixing bowl, whisk together all white sauce ingredients until smooth.
Set sauce aside.
Make the Creamed Spinach:
1 tsp. butter
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp. shallots, minced
1 cup baby spinach leaves (packed)
1 tbsp. heavy cream
1 ounce cream cheese
Freshly ground pepper
Heat butter in sauté pan over medium heat.
When butter is melted, add garlic and shallots and cook until soft.
Add spinach and cook just until wilted.Stir in heavy cream, cream cheese, salt and pepper.
Remove from heat and set aside until ready to serve.
1 plantain, cut lengthwise and then crosswise to make four slices and fried briefly in canola oil
1 bunch fresh dill fried in canola oil
Prepare the fish:
1 tbsp. butter
1 tbsp. canola oil
Amberjack, mahi mahi or bass (I used a 1 pound halibut fillet, removed the skin and cut it in two portions)
1 tsp. olive oil
Freshly ground pepper
Garlic powder, dash
1 tsp. fresh dill, minced
Preheat oven to 425 degrees with oven rack positioned on the top rack.
Squeeze fresh lemon juice over the fish.
Drizzle fish with olive oil.
Sprinkle with salt, pepper, garlic powder and dill.
Heat butter and canola oil in large sauté pan over medium high heat.
When butter is melted, transfer prepared fillets to hot pan.
Sear fish in butter and oil in hot pan for about 4 minutes, until edges are golden brown.
Transfer prepared fish to a baking dish.
Top the seared fish with a layer of white sauce to cover, reserving remaining sauce for serving.
Bake fish in preheated oven for about 5 minutes, until white sauce is bubbly and golden brown and fish is cooked through. Be careful not to overcook.
Warm reserved white sauce and divide among two serving plates.
Arrange creamed spinach on plates.
Add fried plantains to plates.Arrange baked fish atop sauce and garnish with fried dill on top.
Sydne George is a food journalist specializing in recipe development, food writing and food photography. She can be reached at email@example.com . Sydne’s recipes from “Special of the day” are archived at http://sydnegeorge.com/blog/.