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Pescado al Mojo de Ajo

Serves 4

Pescado al mojo de ajo is a delightful way of preparing a fish fillet. It’s surprisingly delicious despite how simple it is to make and how few ingredients it requires. In Mexico, when a dish is described as al mojo de ajo, or al ajillo, it means that it is prepared with garlic as the key ingredient. You can find seafood restaurants preparing fish, shrimp, and even octopus in this way. I like to serve this dish with rice and a salad or steamed vegetables.


  • Tilapia Fillets 680 g (see Notas)
  • Salt and Black Pepper
  • Juice of 1 Lime
  • Vegetable Oil (or a mix of half Olive Oil and half Vegetable Oil) ¼ cup
  • Garlic 6 cloves, thinly sliced
  • All-Purpose Flour 2 Tbs (optional; see Notas)

For Garnishing and Serving

  • Parsley finely chopped, 3 Tbs
  • White Rice
  • Lettuce Salad
  • Butter 1 Tbs (optional)

Cook It

  1. Season the fish fillets with salt and pepper and the lime juice.
  2. In a large nonstick skillet, heat the oil over low heat. Add the garlic and cook and stir for a few seconds, until a light-golden colour (watch carefully). Remove the garlic promptly from the pan (or they will have a bitter taste).
  3. If using the flour, lightly dust the fillets with a fine coating. Place the skillet the garlic was cooked in over medium-high heat. Once the oil is hot, add the fish to the pan and cook on both sides, 2 to 3 minutes per side for fillets around ⅓ inch (8.5 mm) thick and 4 to 5 minutes for thicker fillets. Do not flip the fish until the bottom side is golden and cooked. Transfer the fillets to a paper towel lined plate to absorb any excess oil.
  4.  Garnish the fillets with the chopped parsley and fried garlic slices and serve with rice and salad. I like to add a dab of butter to each fillet when serving.


    • You can use a variety of types of fish for this recipe, including cod, mahi-mahi, and sole.
    • This recipe typically doesn’t use flour, but if you don’t have experience of cooking fish, or do not have a nonstick skillet, the flour will help you obtain golden fish fillets and keep them from sticking to the pan or breaking.
Excerpted with permission from Mexico in Your Kitchen (Rock Point), an imprint of The Quarto Group, 2024) by Mely Martínez. Mexico in Your Kitchen publishes April 30, 2024, and can be purchased wherever fine books are sold. Learn more at”