The Movie: Once Upon a Time in Mexico
Roberto Rodriguez’ cult western offering of 2003 is the third in a trilogy also featuring El Mariachi and Desperado. It is safe to say he attracted a stellar cast for this film, with huge stars Johnny Depp, Antonio Banderas, Salma Hayek, Willem Dafoe and Mickey Rourke (to name a few) appearing in this “shoot ‘em up” action fest. Antonio Banderas is “El mariachi” and is recruited by the CIA as a hit man to kill a corrupt Mexican army officer, hired by the excellent Willem Dafoe in the role of Armando Barillo, a well-known drug baron who is attempting to overthrow the president.
Johnny Depp plays a superb part as CIA agent Sheldon Sands, who is deeply involved having recruited El Mariachi, so much so that as the film develops there is a rather gruesome occurrence which results in Sands having his eyes removed before being sent into the wild, despite this he has the wherewithal to evade and take down the hitman following him.
In the denouement, a huge gunfight takes place as the village celebrates “Day of the dead” where the guerrillas, army and villagers succeed in creating a bloodbath. At the root of all of the killings is of course money, but in an ending not like the rest of the film, El Mariachi (Banderas) donates some of his ill-earned money to the suffering villagers before disappearing and alive and well.
Available on: Apple iTunes, Google Play, and Netflix (DVD only)
The Menu: Mexican Fish Tacos
All up and down the coast of Mexico and Baja California, these delicious tacos are served in beach bars and restaurants. We have used mahi-mahi fish, which is the most popular along the coast but you can use almost any firm white fish that you can obtain. Combined with cabbage salad and spicy mayonnaise, these are absolutely mouth-watering. One of these is filling for a lunchtime dish or as part of a buffet or supper dish for friends.
Serves: 4 tacos
Preparation Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes shallow fry/20 minutes oven bake
For the fish
- 9oz Mahi-mahi fillets or other firm white fish sliced into strips
- 2oz Panko breadcrumbs, or dry white breadcrumbs
- 1tsp Chilli flakes or chilli powder
- 1 egg, beaten
- 4 flatbread tortillas
For the salad
- ½ small white cabbage, finely shredded
- 1 red onion, finely sliced
- Handful of parsley, chopped
- Handful coriander, chopped
- 2 tomatoes, finely chopped
- 1tbsp olive oil
- 1tbsp sweet chilli sauce
- Juice of half a lime
- Seasoning to taste
- Extra olive oil if shallow frying
For the dressing
- 6tbsp mayonnaise
- Juice of 1 lime
- 1 tsp chipotle paste
- If you are using the oven, heat to 350°F/Gas mark 4 and line a baking tray with foil.
- If you are shallow frying the fish, place olive oil in a frying pan. Do not heat until you have prepared the fish.
- To prepared the fish, mix together the panko breadcrumbs with the chilli flakes. Dip the fish strips into the egg and then into the breadcrumbs. Set aside.
- Mix together all of the salad ingredients in a bowl, and place in the fridge.
- Shallow fry/bake the fish fillets until cooked.
- While the fish is cooking, mix together the sauce ingredients and place in the fridge.
- When the fish is almost cooked, heat the tortillas in a pan or in the oven, or if you have an open flame grill, heat on each side until slightly chargrilled.
- Place the tortillas on individual plates, put a portion of salad in the middle of each and top with the fish.
- Serve with a side dip of the sauce.