Austin’s beau monde has had a serious crush on Jeffrey’s (1204 West Lynn, Austin) ever since the intimate, unpretentious restaurant opened in 1975. This standard-setting establishment takes a maverick approach to gourmet dining: Executive chef Raymond Tatum, a self-taught cook with a rebel streak, specializes in improvising provocative Southwestern fare from classic French recipes.

The tortilla-wrapped fish, created by sous-chef Kevin Tubb (who is also self-taught), is an incendiary match of a French lemon-butter sauce and assertive Mexican-style purées, an astute pairing that could set the world on fire.

Tortilla-Wrapped Fish

1 cup canola oil
8 corn tortillas
8 3-ounce fresh fish filets (redfish, snapper, or flounder)
Salt and pepper to taste
4 tablespoons clarified butter or canola oil
1 1/2 cups chicken stock
Juice of 1 1/2 lemons
2 sticks salted butter, cut in inch-size chunks
Chipotle purée (see recipe, below)
Black bean purée (see recipe, below)
Achiote purée (see recipe, below)

Heat 1 cup oil in medium-sized skillet over medium heat. Cook tortillas in oil one at a time until soft. Drain on paper towels. Trim each filet, forming a long triangle. Salt and pepper filet, place on tortilla, and fold two sides over to form a triangle. Divide clarified butter equally in two medium-sized skillets, and heat over medium-high heat. Place four tortilla triangles, folded side down, in each skillet. Cook about 3 minutes on one side, then turn over and cook until tortilla is brown and crispy, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from skillet, drain, and keep warm.

In medium skillet over medium heat, add chicken stock and lemon juice; simmer, watching closely, approximately 2 minutes or until mixture is reduced by four fifths. Remove from heat, and let cool about 30 seconds. Add butter, one chunk at a time, while shaking pan briskly and continually, over the next 2 minutes, until sauce is smooth and thick. Add chipotle, black bean, and achiote purées one tablespoon at a time to butter sauce. Do not stir; sauces should not be blended together, so that when they are drizzled over tortillas, they achieve a striated effect.

To serve, place two tortillas on each plate and drizzle butter-purée mixture over tortillas until they rest in a pool of sauce. Serves 4.

Note: Purées and reduced ingredients for butter sauce can be made ahead of time.

Chipotle Purée
1 7-ounce can of Embasa or Del Monte chipotle peppers
1/8 cup chicken stock (or just enough to blend peppers)

Mix ingredients in blender at high speed until smooth. Pour through strainer into bowl, and set aside.

Black Bean Purée
1 cup black beans, soaked
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 onion, quartered
2 strips raw bacon
Salt and pepper to taste
3 cups chicken stock

Combine all ingredients in saucepan, and simmer 90 minutes. Pour into blender, and blend at high speed until smooth. Pour into bowl. Set aside.

Achiote Purée
1 3 1/2-ounce tub of La Favorita annatto
1/2 cup distilled white vinegar
1 tablespoon salt
4 cloves garlic
1/2 teaspoon coriander
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1/2 teaspoon white pepper
2 bay leaves

Mix ingredients in blender until smooth. Pour into bowl. Set aside.