Plaice with Spicy Tomato Sauce

This piquant fish dish is popular along Mexico's Guff coast.


serves 4
90 g (3 oz) cream cheese
5 ml (1 tsp) dried oregano
Pinch cayenne pepper
4 whole fillets of plaice
Lime slices and dill to garnish

tomato sauce

15 ml (1 tbsp) oil
1 small onion, chopped
1 stick celery, chopped
1 chilli pepper, seeded and chopped
1.25 ml (1/4 tsp) each ground cumin, coriander and ginger
1/2 red and 1/2 green pepper, seeded and chopped
400g/14oz canned tomatoes
15 ml (1 tbsp) tomato puree
Salt, pepper and a pinch sugar


1. Heat the oil in a heavy-based pan and cook the onion, celery, chilli pepper and spices for about 5 minutes over very low heat.

2. Add red and green peppers and the remaining ingredients and bring to the boil. Reduce heat and simmer 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Set aside while preparing the fish.

3. Mix the cream cheese, oregano and cayenne pepper together and set aside.

4. Skin the fillets using a filleting knife. Start at the tail end and hold the knife at a slight angle to the skin.

5. Push the knife along using a sawing motion, with the blade against the skin. Dip fingers in salt to make it easier to hold onto the fish skin. Gradually separate the fish from the skin.

6. Spread the cheese filling on all 4 fillets and roll each up. Secure with cocktail sticks.

7. Place the fillets in a lightly greased baking dish, cover and cook for 10 minutes in a preheated 180°C (350°F)/Gas Mark 4 oven.

8. Pour over the tomato sauce and cook a further 10 - 15 minutes. Fish is cooked when it feels firm and looks opaque. Garnish with lime slices and dill.

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