Steal This Recipe® Tacos Pescado

October 09, 2014

From the Culinary Director and Owner Patricio Sandoval of Mercadito, Chicago

Mercadito Culinary Director and Owner Patricio Sandoval shared with us his special recipe for fish tacos, which transforms this well known dish from simple to sumptuous.

Mercadito Chicago, Spanish for “little market,” is the fourth location for the Sandoval brothers, owners and operators of the popular Mercadito, Mercadito Grove and Mercadito Cantina restaurants in New York City, and Chicago’s River North neighborhood. Emphasizing superior ingredients and value, Chef Patricio and his brothers/partners, Alfredo and Felipe Sandoval, draw from their childhood to offer authentic, imaginative Mexican fare - exquisite tacos, guacamoles, botanas and ceviches; Mexican delicacies with a decidedly modern touch. 

About the chef: Born in Acapulco, Mexico, Sandoval virtually grew up in the kitchen of his father Manuel Sandoval’s world class restaurant Madeiras. After moving to California to attend high school, Sandoval left for New York to work with his older brother Richard, who also followed in the family’s culinary footsteps with his own restaurant, Maya. It was while working alongside Richard that Sandoval discovered his passion for cooking.

Although his brother was aware of his potential, Sandoval started at the bottom, eventually working his way up from an apprentice to sous chef. Eventually he enrolled in The French Culinary Institute and further refined his skills while working at the Savoy, but was tapped by his brother Richard to act as a consulting chef for his latest restaurant, Pampano, in 2004. 

Sandoval’s inspiration for Mercadito Restaurants drew from his experiences shopping in the markets of Mexico with his mother. He instinctively gravitated towards the small market stalls where local merchants sold native delicacies that fueled a day of bargaining. Never forgetting these delectable yet uncomplicated dishes, Sandoval strived to capture the flavor and energy of this cuisine in his own restaurant.  

Mercadito Chicago
108 W Kinzie Street
Chicago, IL 60610

Tacos de Pescado are served at Mercadito Chicago $16.50.
This recipe makes one restaurant serving of 4 tacos.
Chef's note: soaking onions overnight is required for the Pickled Red Onions part of the recipe.

Tacos Pescado Ingredients:
1/4 cup canola oil
1 piece tilapia
Salt to taste
1 teaspoon butter
4 corn tortillas
1 1/2 cups *Chile Poblano Tomatillo Puree 
3 tablespoons *Garlic Mojo 
4 slices avocado
2 teaspoons *Pickled Red Onions

*Chile Poblano Tomatillo Puree Ingredients:
2 cups boiled tomatillos
2 cups grilled tomatillos
3 poblano chiles, roasted, skinned, and deveined
4 habanero chiles, roasted

*Garlic Mojo Ingredients:
3 tablespoons canola oil
2 tablespoon garlic finely chopped
4 tablespoons diced red onions
1/2 cup *Chile Poblano Tomatillo Puree
Salt to taste
1/8 cup lemon juice
5 tablespoons butter

*Pickled Red Onions Ingredients:
1 quart diced red onions, soaked in rice wine vinegar overnight 
2 cups orange juice
2 habanero chiles, chopped finely
1/4 cup lemon juice
Honey to taste
Salt to taste

Steal This Recipe® Step by Step Instructions for the *Chile Poblano Tomatillo Puree:
Combine all ingredients in a blender and puree with a little bit of water until it makes a smooth puree.

Steal This Recipe® Step by Step Instructions for the *Garlic Mojo:
Heat oil in sauté pan. Add garlic and sauté until golden-do not burn. 
Add red onions and sauté for 1 minute. 
Mix in puree, salt, and lemon juice. 
Turn heat off and stir in butter.

Steal This Recipe® Step by Step Instructions for the *Pickled Red Onions:
Drain all vinegar from red onions. 
Add red onions to a bowl and mix in remaining ingredients.

Steal This Recipe® Step by Step Instructions for the Tacos Pescado:
Pour oil in sauté pan and heat until smoking. 
Season fish with salt and place on pan belly down; let cook for 20 seconds over medium heat. 
When edges start to brown, add butter to pan and let cook until fish is golden brown; flip fish, turn heat off and let fish rest for 1 minute.
Cut fish in half lengthwise and in half again. 
Heat tortillas and top with one piece of fish, Chile Poblano Tomatillo Puree, Garlic Mojo, avocado, and Pickled Red Onions.