Fried Fish Tipitapa

This dish is a whole fresh fish whose sauce is named for a small town in Nicaragua. It came from a great little cafe named Tula’s. The lady who operated it with her husband was the Nicaraguan consul to New Orleans. This was during the years when the neighborhood was called Fat City, and Central American restaurants were growing. Tula was a wonderful cook, and she introduced many of us to her native cuisine. It was the first place we ever saw tres leches cake.

If you can’t get whole fish, fillets will w`ork.

  • Two whole red snappers, puppy drums, small trout or other fish, about 1-2 lbs. each
  • 2 cups corn flour (Fish-Fri)
  • 1 Tbs. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. cayenne
  • 1 1/2 cups organic canola oil
  • 1/2 stick butter, melted
  • Juice of two lemons
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 2 sweet onions
  • 1/2 cup tomato puree
  • 1/4 cup red wine
  • Salt and pepper to taste

1. Clean the fish and wash well in cold water. Pat dry. Coat the fish with the Fish-Fri mixed with salt and cayenne.

2. Heat the vegetable oil in a cast-iron skillet to 375 degrees. Fry the fish, turning once, for about three minutes per side, or until golden brown. Drain on paper towels. Set aside and keep warm.

3. In a skillet, heat the lemon juice still it steams, then melt and whisk the butter into it. Add the garlic and onions and cook over medium heat until the onions are just starting to turn soft.

4. Add the red wine and bring to a boil. Finally, add the tomato puree and and red wine and bring to a boil. Add salt and pepper to taste.

5. Serve the sauce over the whole fish and serve. You can remove the bones in the kitchen if you like.

Serves four.