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Grilled Cod with Achiote Marinade and Charred Scallion Vinaigrette

A brilliant orange-tinged fish served with a zesty vinaigrette and avocado salsa.

By Rick Lopez
Aug 16, 2022
35 Minutes
2 - 3 Servings

Grilled fish is a meal that screams summer, although with our Carbon Steel Griddle, you can make this dish anytime of year. Black cod is also known as butterfish because of its silky texture, and Chef Rick Lopez of Austin’s La Condesa pairs it with two bright, flavorful sauces. The vinaigrette features charred scallions, while the salsa uses charred serranos. The whole dish is finished with a cooling radish and scallion garnish and can be served with or without tortillas for an elegant, yet simple to prepare dinner.

Chef Lopez coats the fish in a paste made of achiote, which gives it a beautiful orange color. Achiote, also called annatto, is a spice made from the seeds of a shrub native to Central America. It can be found online or in the international or spice sections of the grocery store, where it’s typically sold as seeds, powder, or paste. It has a unique earthy taste with slightly bitter and peppery notes.

Grilled Cod with Achiote Marinade and Charred Scallion Vinaigrette

A brilliant orange-tinged fish served with a zesty vinaigrette and avocado salsa.

Rick Lopez

35 Minutes
2 - 3 Servings
  • For the Cod:
  • 1 ½ pounds black cod, broken down into 5–6 skinless filets
  • ½ cup achiote paste
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ cup grapeseed oil, plus more for cooking
  • For the Scallion Vinaigrette:
  • 1 bunch scallions (about 8 pieces), divided
  • Grapeseed oil, for cooking
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely grated (4–5 teaspoons)
  • 3" piece ginger, finely grated (4–5 teaspoons)
  • ¾ cup yuzu juice (or substitute with equal parts lemon and lime juice to make ¾ cup), plus more to taste
  • 2 teaspoons soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • Kosher salt to taste
  • For the Avocado Purée:
  • 2 serrano chiles
  • 2 limes
  • 1 avocado
  • Kosher salt, to taste
  • To Serve:
  • 1 scallion (reserved from bunch above)
  • 2 radishes
  • Tortillas (optional)

    For the fish, break up the achiote paste with a whisk or fork and mix with the oil until very smooth. Using a brush, coat fish with a generous layer of achiote marinade and let marinate in the fridge for at least 30 minutes and up to 1 hour while you prepare the salsa and vinaigrette.


    Heat Griddle on a grill or on the stovetop over medium-high. Reserve 1 scallion from the bunch for garnish. Add the rest of the scallions and both serranos to the griddle with a drizzle of oil and sear, turning occasionally, until softened and blackened in places, 2–5 minutes. Set aside to cool.


    For the vinaigrette, combine garlic, ginger, citrus juice, soy sauce, and sesame oil in a mixing bowl. Mince charred scallion, season with salt, and stir to combine. Taste and adjust seasoning, adding more citrus or salt, if needed. Chill until ready to serve.


    For the avocado purée, peel and roughly chop the avocado and add to a medium bowl. Squeeze in the juice of 2 limes and use a whisk, potato masher, or spoon to break up any chunks and smooth out the purée. Remove stems and finely chop the charred serrano chiles and add to the bowl. Season with salt to taste and stir to combine.


    Place Griddle over medium-high heat and drizzle with a little oil. Season fish on both sides with salt and pepper and place on griddle, cooking on one side until a deep brown crust forms, 5–7 minutes. Flip the fish and cook on the other side until cooked through, 5–7 minutes more. Transfer fish to a Sheet Pan to let it rest, about 5 minutes.


    For the garnish, use Chef Knife to slice the radishes into ¼”-thick coins, then into ¼”-wide matchsticks. Slice the remaining raw scallion on a sharp bias and place both vegetables in a bowl of ice water to keep crisp. Drain after 2–3 minutes.


    To serve, add a dollop of avocado purée to the plate. Place fish on top and drizzle with scallion vinaigrette. Top with the radish and scallion garnish and serve with tortillas, if desired.

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