A Recipe for Summer: Fresh Fish, Spicy Chiles, Loads of Corn

This seafood stew takes cues from pozole verde, swapping fresh corn for the hominy.

There was something surprising going on in the pozole verde at Mita’s Restaurant and Bar in Cincinnati.

Instead of the usual chunks of pork or chicken poking out of the chile-laden broth, tentacles, purple and white, curled over the radish and avocado slices. When I plunged my spoon in, plump grains of hominy mingled with shrimp and red snapper.

The flavors were familiar: There was the heady tang of lime juice and tomatillos, the fiery smack of the green chiles, the grassy cilantro. But while a more traditional pozole verde has fatty chunks of pork or chicken (or both) to lend heft and richness, the chef Jose Salazar’s seafood variation was briny, light and perfectly suited to the steamy heat of a summer evening.

“I’ve got to imagine somewhere in Mexico someone’s put seafood in pozole verde before, but I’ve never seen it,” Mr. Salazar said. When he tried it, the combination made perfect sense.

In this version, I’ve taken Mr. Salazar’s already lighter pozole and made it even more August-appropriate. In place of starchy hominy, I used fresh corn, both kernels to mix into the broth and rounds to pick up and gnaw.

Before I added the corn, though, I grilled it to add a caramelized, smoky character to the dish. Mr. Salazar’s recipe had me charring the chiles and tomatillos before puréeing them, so the grill was already hot. (You can also do these steps in a broiler as long as you or your air-conditioner can handle the kitchen heat.)

At Mita’s, Mr. Salazar uses a combination of seafood: fish, squid, lobster and shrimp. But you can choose one or two varieties. Just take note of timing, adding quicker-cooking ingredients (thin fish fillets, squid ringlets) after any thick pieces of fish or shrimp, so everything is ready at the same time.

In any pozole, the garnishes are as important as the dish itself, and that holds true for inauthentic, pozole-inspired stews like this one. You don’t need to use all of the garnishes, but try to include the avocado for creaminess, along with one crunchy vegetable like cabbage or sliced radish for a contrasting texture.

When winter comes, you can replace the fresh corn with hominy to make a more substantial, warming dish. The seafood will welcome it with open tentacles.

Recipe: Corn-Seafood Stew With Avocado and Chiles

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