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Spicy Pepita Cilantro Pesto Fish with Asparagus


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Rate this recipe 4.6/5 (5 Votes)


  • For Cilantro Pesto:
  • 1/2 a bunch of cilantro with stems, washed
  • 2 serrano or jalapeño peppers, roughly chopped (remove the seeds to reduce spiciness)
  • 1 clove garlic, sliced
  • 1/8 cup toasted pepitas
  • 1/8 cup grated cotija or Parmesan cheese
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • Pinch of red pepper flakes
  • 1/3 teaspoon pepper
  • Salt to taste
  • For Asparagus:
  • 1 bunch of asparagus, trimmed (1 pound)
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup grated cotija or Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • For Fish:
  • 4 fillets (4 ounces each); I used hake (whiting) fillets
  • 4 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 5 tablespoons pepita cilantro pesto
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup cotija or Parmesan cheese
  • Fresh cilantro for garnish


Adapted from


Step 1

1. In the blender, combine all of the ingredients for the pesto. Blend on high until smooth, taste for salt. If you want a more coarse finish on the pesto, I would suggest pulsing it in the food processor. Line two baking sheets with foil paper, set aside. Toss the asparagus with olive oil, salt, pepper, minced garlic and lemon juice and transfer to one of the lined baking sheets, set aside.

2. Preheat oven to 250ºF. In a small bowl, add 5 tablespoons of cilantro pesto, Dijon mustard and some fresh cracked pepper, about 1/3 of a teaspoon. Stir well to combine.

3. Brush butter onto the other lined baking sheet in four spots just a little bigger than the fillets. Season lightly with salt and pepper add fish. Brush tops of fish with butter and again season lightly with salt and pepper. Top each fillet with a generous portion of cilantro pesto/mustard mixture on top. Bake for 15 to 18 minutes or until fish flakes off the end with a fork. Sprinkle with grated Parmesan and cover loosely with foil paper to keep warm.

4. Quickly bump up the oven temperature to 400ºF. Roast the asparagus for 15 minutes, remove from oven and top with grated cheese and red pepper flakes. Garnish fish with fresh cilantro and cheese; serve with asparagus.

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