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Whole Grilled Achiote Striped Bass with Spicy Pickled Red Onions

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  • Level: Easy
  • Total: 30 min
  • Prep: 10 min
  • Cook: 20 min
  • Yield: 6 to 8 servings
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1/2 orange, juiced (1-ounce)

1 lime, juiced (1-ounce)

1/2 cup achiote paste, 3 1/2-ounce package*

2 teaspoon ground cumin

2 teaspoon ground oregano, preferably Mexican

1 teaspoon kosher salt

3 whole striped bass, scaled, gutted and cleaned

Vegetable oil or canola oil

1 cup Pickled Red Onions, recipe follows

1 avocado, halved, pitted and sliced, for garnish 

1 avocado, halved, pitted and sliced, for garnish

1/2 bunch cilantro, leaves cleaned and roughly chopped, for garnish 

1/2 bunch cilantro, leaves cleaned and roughly chopped, for garnish

Pickled Red Onions:

1 red onion, sliced thin

2 limes

1/2 orange habanero pepper or 1 whole jalapeno chile, seeded and chopped 

1 teaspoon salt


  1. Preheat the grill to medium-high. 
  2. In a medium bowl add the orange juice and the lime juice. Stir in the achiote paste, cumin, oregano and salt. Mix into a smooth paste. Rub the paste all over inside and outside of the fish. Drizzle both sides of the fish liberally with vegetable or canola oil. Put the fish on the grill. Grill until golden, about 4 minutes and then carefully flip the fish over. Grill until the fish starts to separate when lifted with a spatula. Fish will be golden brown with some charring. 
  3. Lay the fish on a large platter. Cover with pickled red onions, sliced avocado and chopped cilantro and serve family style.

Pickled Red Onions:

  1. To make the Pickled Red Onions: 
  2. Add the sliced onions to a medium-size bowl large enough for the onions to be spread out into a thin layer. Juice the limes into the bowl, then add the chopped chile and salt. Stir to combine. Allow to sit at room temperature for 2 hours, stirring every 30 minutes or cover and refrigerate overnight. Onions are ready when they are bright pink and softened. Their flavor will be sweet and spicy with a little texture but not crunchy. 
  3. Yield: about 1 cup

Cook’s Note

*You can buy achiote paste in most ethnic food stores. You can also make it by grinding annatto seeds.