The meaty pacu ribs are wonderful in Chef Vania Almeida’s tangy citrus BBQ sauce. A sustainably farmed fish, the pacu is native to the Amazon and Orinoco River systems of South America. Chef Vania Almeida heard about the pacu while watching Food Network. She contacted her seafood purveyor and now serves the popular appetizer at Second Story in the Belamar Hotel in Manhattan Beach.
Second Story Pacu Ribs with Citrus BBQ Sauce
Citrus BBQ sauce
1/4 C orange juice
1 T grapefruit juice
1 T lemon juice
1 t lime juice
1 C ketchup
12 C white wine
2 C brown sugar
2 T Worcestershire sauce
2 C water
Whisk all the ingredients together in a large saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to maintain a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until reduced by about half or to desired thickness, about 1 hour.
6 oz pacu* ribs
1 T olive oil
1 C citrus BBQ sauce (see above)
Salt and pepper
Heat a skillet, add olive oil. Sear pacu skin down for 1 minute, turn, add 1/2 C BBQ sauce on top and place it in oven for about 5 minutes.
Slice fish into ribs, add rest of BBQ sauce.
Serving suggestions: cole slaw or French fries.
*Pacu are South American freshwater fish related to, but much larger than, piranhas. They are omnivorous and fast growing, making them ideal for aquaculture. Currently Pacu are raised in huge fish farms, mainly in Brazil.