Pescado a la Veracruzana Is a famous dish from the city of Veracruz on the Gulf coast of southern Mexico. Besides showcasing whole Red Snapper fresh from the ocean, it is a great example of how Mexicans paired tomatoes with fish to create a dish that’s held up to the test of time. Who would have thought that an indigenous fruit from Mexico would change cuisines throughout the world?
Originally considered an ornamental plant by the Spanish and Italians, the tomato was perfect for growing in Mediterranean climates and was soon adopted by both to become a major component of their national cuisines. The plant also make its way to many of the Spanish colonies in the Caribbean and the Philippines, where it lept the rest of Asia.
Pescado a la Veracruzana is another great Mexican dish that layers ingredients, like olives and capers brought by the Spanish conquistadors to indigenous dishes. Made with the mild fresh caught Red Snapper, this special dish becomes truly special.
Pescado de Veracruzana – Fish in the Style of Veracruz
- Wire rack,
- Baking sheet
- Large nonstick pan
- Large serving dish
- 6 6-8 oz fish fillets; Snapper, Tilapia, Cod, Mahi Mahi, or any flaky white fish
- ¼ cup Fresh lime juice
- ½ cup Extra virgin olive oil
- Fine sea salt or Kosher salt
- 1 medium White onion, sliced thin
- 29 oz Canned fire roasted diced tomatoes with jalapeno, drained
- 4 cloves Garlic, peeled
- 1½ tsp Dried Mexican oregano
- 3 Bay leaves
- 3 tbsp Flat-leaf parsley or cilantro, chopped
- 1 cup Green olives, sliced
- ¼ cup Capers
- Marinate Fish – Place the fish filets in a single layer in a casserole dish. Pour lime juice over each and flip to ensure both sides get covered with the lime juice. Marinade while making the sauce.
- Make Sauce – Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium high. Add onion and cook for 5 minutes to brown. Add garlic and cook 1 minute more. Pour in the drained fire roasted tomatoes and stir in bay leaves, oregano, parsley, and ½ of the olives and ½ the capers. Simmer, stirring, on high to reduce liquids a bit, 5 minutes. Add ½ cup water and lower heat to medium-low to simmer for 15 minutes. Add salt to taste.
- Prepare Fish – Preheat oven to 400°F. In a large nonstick pan over high heat. Pat down the filets with paper towels and season with sea salt. Once skillet very hot, lay in 3 fillets and sear for 2 minutes per side. Remove and place on a wire rack over a rimmed baking pan. After oil gets hot again, add the remaining fillets, sear 2 minutes per side and remove to the wire rack. Place the baking pan with rack and fish into to oven and bake until just cooked through, about 10 minutes.
- Serve – Ladle the sauce onto bottom of serving dish. Top sauce with fillets and top that with remaining olives and capers. Bring out bowls of white rice or small potatoes and enjoy the ooohs-and-aaahs.