I know, I wrote that recipe title backwards, huh? Nope. This is really about the mole. You don’t have to put it on halibut. You can put it on chicken, you can put it on your eggs, everything you want. And you will want it on everything. It’s also a mole that can be made in a relatively short amount of time, not the typical three-day process, so it’s really deserving of all that attention.
I learned to make this at Rancho Pescadero in Baja California Sur, Mexico. It’s actually on the site already here, in a travel post, but I realized that it doesn’t have the nice printable recipe format so I thought I would make it accessible via the recipe search tool. And it’s worth revisiting. Especially at this time of year when citrus is in season and you need something to remind you of the beach.
Almond Orange Mole – a la Rancho Pescadero
For the mole:
3 dried guajillo peppers – seeded and stemmed
3 cups boiling water
2 tomatoes, roasted
1 cup blanched almonds
2 tsp roasted garlic (from about 5-6 roasted cloves)
3 oranges- zested, grilled & juiced
1/8 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp honey
kosher salt to taste
For the halibut:
4 halibut steaks
Kosher salt and cracked black pepper
Roast tomatoes until blistered. I did this in a cast iron skillet on the grill, but you can also roast them whole in the oven at at 450 degrees.
Place garlic cloves with the skin on in an aluminum foil pouch with a drizzle of olive oil and roast in the oven. Check them after about 15 minutes to see if they have softened. This is pretty high heat, so it won’t take long. You want them soft, not blackened. Allow to cool and then squeeze the garlic out of the skins.
Remove seeds, stems and ribs from guajillo peppers. Heat a dry skillet on the stove top, place chiles in the pan to toast lightly – just until they become fragrant and pliable. Do not let them get brown/black. This will ruin the delicate flavor. Remove from skillet and place in a large bowl. Pour the boiling water over the peppers until they are covered. Place a small plate over the pepers to ensure that they stay submerged. Let them soak for about 30 minutes. Do not discard soaking liquid.
Meanwhile, blanch almonds in boiling water, let soak for a bit. Once water has cooled, remove skins. You can just grip one end and they will shoot right out of the skins easily. Be careful you don’t shoot them all across the kitchen!
Heat some olive oil in large skillet and fry almonds until golden brown. You want enough oil in the pan so that they are swimming in there, and deep frying. Not just a sauté. Drain and cool.
Remove Peppers from soaking liquid, but do not discard liquid.
Zest oranges. Slice in half and grill. Once cool, juice the oranges.
Place almonds, peppers, tomatoes, orange juice, orange zest, roasted garlic, cinnamon, salt and honey in a blender and puree. Add the water from the peppers as needed to thin the sauce. Season again with salt to taste.
Brush both sides of halibut with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
Grill over medium heat about 4 minutes per side.
Place a dollop of warm mole onto a plate, top with the halibut, and serve with a lime or orange wedge.