Marco's Fish Wrapped in Hoja Santa

"Masa means dough. This recipe can also be used as a base to make tortillas or tamales. Recipe courtesy Chuck Hughes"
photo by Genius Kitchen photo by Genius Kitchen
photo by Genius Kitchen
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  • Huitlacoche Masa Dumplings (Corn Mushroom Dumplings)

  • 2 tablespoons/ 30 ml canola oil
  • 2 cups/ 500 ml chopped Huitlacoche (corn mushroom)
  • 1 leek, minced
  • salt & freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 bunch epazote, chopped (or substitute with tarragon or a mix of herbs like cilantro, parsley and chives)
  • Masa Bolitas (Small Dough Balls)

  • 2 cups/ 500 ml very fine cornflour (masa harina)
  • 1 teaspoon/ 5 ml salt
  • 12 cup/ 125 ml crumbled chiapas cheese
  • Plantain Salsa

  • 2 tablespoons/ 30 ml butter
  • 2 tablespoons/ 30 ml canola oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 leek, chopped
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 plantain banana, cut in chunks
  • 1 tablespoon/ 15 ml bonito flakes
  • 12 teaspoon/ 2 ml whole allspice
  • salt & freshly ground black pepper
  • canola oil, for deep frying
  • chia seeds, for garnish (optional)
  • toasted macadamia nuts, for garnish
  • Fish

  • 4 jack fish fillets, or any white firm-flesh fish you like (about 2 pounds/1 kg)
  • 4 hoja santa, leaves or 4 banana leaves
  • salt & freshly ground black pepper


  • For the huitlacoche masa dumplings:

  • In a skillet, heat the oil and saute the huitlacoche and leeks, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and add the epazote. Set aside.
  • For the masa bolitas:

  • In a bowl, mix the corn flour, salt and 1 1/2 cups/ 375 ml water. Knead to form your dough.
  • Pinch off a golf ball-size piece of dough and press the center to form a cavity. Stuff it with some of the mushroom mixture and add some cheese. Enclose the stuffing with the masa and reshape into a ball. Cover with plastic wrap and keep in the refrigerator until ready to deep-fry.
  • For the plantain salsa:

  • In a skillet over medium heat, melt the butter with the canola oil. Add the garlic, leeks and onions, and saute until translucent. Add the plantain bananas and continue sauteing, about 5 minutes. Add the bonito flakes and allspice, and continue sauteing, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer the mixture to the recipient of the food processor and reduce into a coarse puree, keeping some texture to it. Add a little water if too thick. Season with salt and pepper.
  • For the fish:

  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Wrap the fish with the hoja santa leaves. Place on a baking tray and bake in the oven for about 5 minutes. Set aside.
  • To deep-fry the masa dumplings, heat the oil in a deep-fryer to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).
  • Deep-fry the dumplings until nice and golden brown, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a baking tray covered with paper towels to drain excess oil. Season with salt and pepper.
  • To assemble the plate, add a spoonful of the plantain salsa on a plate, lay a piece of fish on the salsa and top with 2 or 3 masa dumplings. Garnish with chia seeds if using and toasted macadamia nuts.
  • Cook's Note:

  • Chiapas cheese is a sharp cheese that tastes like aged Cheddar. You can substitute it with Cheddar cheese or any other favorite cheese.

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Affable Canadian chef Chuck Hughes is a restaurateur and television personality known for his inventive take on comfort food, which he shares on his show, Chuck's Day Off.
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