My family has two kinds of eaters: those who love chiles with wild abandon and those who really don’t. As you might be able to guess, the Mexican side likes their food hot; the Italians, not so much. But for a close family, Pescado a la Talla is the perfect solution. In its traditional presentation, a whole red snapper is butterflied and split down the middle so that you can grill the fillets on both sides of the fish at once. Two different salsas—a mild green parsley one and my hotter red adobo—are painted onto the two sides of the fish. The cooked fish is brought to the table on one platter. Everyone shares the same meal, but the spice lovers don’t have to compromise and those who prefer things milder don’t have to suffer. Both sides of this fish are delicious, and it looks spectacular, too. This has become one of our most popular fuertes at Contramar, where the waiters gingerly remove the flesh from the bones at the table and serve it with warm tortillas and refried black beans.
If you don’t have a fishmonger who can butterfly a whole snapper for you, buy four fillets instead and cook two of them with the red sauce and two with the green, in a grill pan or on a grill. You want the grill marks because they sear the sauce into the flesh of the fish. Both sauces can be made a day ahead and stored in separate sealed containers in the refrigerator.