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Halibut Baked in Pumpkin Seed Mole

Mole (mo-lay) is the Mexican name for a variety of thick sauces that differ markedly from region to region of the country.

Most Americans encounter mole as a thick, non-sweet, chocolate-based sauce.

Pumpkin seed mole is less well known here, but equally delicious. This nutty, herby sauce is called mole verde throughout much of Mexico, and in Puebla it is called pipián.

Pumpkin seeds are a bit higher in omega-3s than most nuts or seeds... the short-chain kind (ALA), which are valuable, but not as good as the long-chain omega-3s in seafood (EPA and DHA), which are what the body actually uses. Some 5
15 percent of dietary ALA gets converted to EPA And DHA.

They are available in natural food or Latin grocery stores, where they are called pepitas.

Halibut Baked in Pumpkin Seed Mole
Today's recipe is adapted from one in “Fish Forever” by Paul Johnson (2007 Wiley, $34.95)

Serves 4

1/4 cup unsalted hulled pumpkin seeds (see note)
1/2 teaspoon coriander seeds
1 lb tomatillos
Pinch of organic ground cumin
2 Serrano chilies
1 small white onion, diced
2 garlic cloves
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
2-3 large romaine lettuce leaves, torn into pieces (about 1 cup)
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher sea salt
1/2 cup water
4 wild Alaskan Halibut fillets (6 oz each)
1 bunch red radishes cut into thin slices
Cilantro sprigs

Heat the oven to 350 F.
  • For the mole: In a dry medium sauté pan or skillet, lightly toast the pumpkin seeds over medium heat for 4‒5 minutes, or until they start to pop; cook for just another minute or two while gently shaking the pan. Do not let them over-brown, or they will taste bitter. Pour the pumpkin seeds into a bowl.

  • In the same pan, toast the coriander seeds until fragrant, about 3‒4 minutes. Crush the coriander seeds in a mortar. Let both kinds of seeds cool.

  • Remove the papery husks from the tomatillos. In a medium saucepan of boiling water, cook the tomatillos for 3‒4 minutes or until they change color from bright green to yellow-green.

  • In a blender or food processor, combine the seeds, tomatillos, cumin, chilies, onion, garlic, cilantro, lettuce, salt and water and blend to a slightly textured puree, adding the water as needed to keep the sauce moving freely.

  • Pour half the mole into an ovenproof baking dish; place the Halibut fillets in the dish and cover with the remaining mole. Bake, uncovered, 15‒20 minutes, or until the sauce is bubbling and the fish is almost opaque throughout. Serve garnished with radishes and cilantro sprigs.

Nutrition values per serving: 270 calories, 10 g fat (1.5 g saturated), 11 g carbohydrates, 3 g fiber, 34 g protein, 45 mg cholesterol, and 950 mg sodium.

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