Saturday, July 24, 2010

Pescado Al Pastor with Cilantro and Pineapple Sauces

This month's Bon Appetite was filled with recipes that actually stuck me as novel - a rare event, indeed. Usually food magazines are filled with retreads of whatever seasonal classics are timely. I don't really need another recipe for peach cobbler, instructions on how to make a deli sandwich, or tips for zucchini bread (I've already got the recipe for the best zucchini bread ever). But this month, from Corn and Dulce De Leche Panna Cotta to sweet Tomato Tarte Tatin to this recipe for Pescado Al Pastor from a restaurant in Mexico City, I've been cooking directly from recipes and have been floored by the results.

Here's the sad thing, though. I ripped out the page for the Fish al Pastor, and now I have no idea where it is. PLUS it's not on the Bon Appetite website. So really, there is no way I or anyone else in the world will be able to cook this ever again. Unless you, dear reader, also have a copy of this month's BA and would scan the page for me. (ahem, it's

Anyway, for this recipe, which is now lost to the ages, I needed a few ingredients I knew I could get at any mexican supermarket. Unlike my hometown in Southern California, however, we don't have many awesome supermercados within Portland city limits. Now, I'm the kind of person that hates to wait for the elevator so much that I walk down nine flights of stairs a few times of day, and I brought a book to my college graduation because I didn't want to waste time, but I will gladly take an hour and a half to drive out to Cornelius, Oregon to go to Grande Foods for achiote seeds and guajillo chiles. And THEN take a few more hours preparing my own achiote paste, a caramelized pineapple sauce, pico de gallo, and cilantro pepper sauce from scratch to make a "simple" dinner for two of my friends. I'm weird like that.

Food exists in this alternate reality for me. On one hand, there's life obligations - like work, errands, and most human interactions - that can really make me angry if they require a bit more time than I had allotted for them in my meta life schedule. But with food... I don't know, I can get lost in it, spend an entire afternoon making SAUCE, and be completely happy.

Sorry I don't have a recipe for the amazingly delicious pescado al pastor. It was seriously one of the best fish dishes I've ever made. As a consolation prize, here is the recipe I used to make my achiote (aka annato) paste. It's really, REALLY worth it to make your own and not buy the paste you get in stores. The taste of fresh achiote paste is incomparably better - trust me, you'll want to put that on everything.

Which recipes would you miss the most if they ended up lost? What foods are you willing to drive more than an hour to find?


  1. I would be really sad if I lost my Teddy Bear Cookbook banana bread recipe. But that will never happen, because I had Erin scan the book from home and send me the recipe over email. So unless gmail dies, I will never have to lose my favorite banana bread recipe. The secret ingredient is sour cream. mmmm...

  2. I was just thinking about that cookbook and recipe. Glad we are on the same page. We can still smell banana on the bit of dry dough on the page.
    Getting hungry...

  3. I just went searching for this recipe on Google and found your page. I have the BA issue in front of me but hate tearing out pages so I wanted to find the recipe online to print out. Since I can't find it I just typed it out in its entirety and I will email it to you.

    Can't wait to make this (and since I have annatto seeds already, my own achiote paste too!). Your endorsement of the dish makes me think my husband might actually enjoy a fish dish for once. :P Thanks!

  4. Choose the right healthy mix of spices. This makes the dish more refreshing.

  5. There are some use of cilantro that is hidden to some of us. The Ancient Egyptians used Cilantro for such things as headaches and urinary tract infections.
    ~ Nurofen