A crispy, golden fish that needs nothing more than a little salt and pepper and a squeeze of lime juice.
All you need is an open flame and a cast iron wok or skillet. Or if you're lucky and happen to live in Mexico, you can have a disco made from recycled tractor parts. (Ask your local welder or tractor repairman for details.)
You'll also need some manteca (lard) or vegetable shortening to fry the fish in. You could use vegetable oil, but the manteca really makes for a more flavorful fish.
As for what kind of fish to fry, that is entirely up to you. We prefer to use Robalo or Mojarra, but any whole fish will do. My mom loved to fry catfish and trout. Just make sure that your fish has been cleaned, inside and out. Then rinse thoroughly and dry completely with paper towels. (The last thing you want to do is drop a wet fish into boiling lard.)
The following recipe is enough to feed a large crowd. This is exactly how much we prepared to feed the entire family during our Semana Santa (Holy Week) Camping Trip at El Rancho. Adjust the recipe to your individual needs. Just keep in mind how many people you will be cooking for and the size of the fish you'll be frying. With smaller fish, you'll need at least one per person, while a larger fish will feed two, three or even four people.
- 1 Kilo (2 pounds) Manteca or Vegetable Shortening
- 10 to 12 mojarras or robalo (fish)
Over medium-high flame, heat the disco or cast iron wok/skillet for about 5 minutes.
Carefully add the manteca and let it melt completely.
Very gently, lay the fish in the hot manteca (lard). No more than 3 fish at a time, so that they can cook evenly. Let the fish cook for about five minutes or until the underside has turned a deep golden brown. Very carefully turn the fish over and continue to cook until golden brown on the other side.
Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Serve with lime wedges. Enjoy!!!