Thursday, July 5, 2012

Veracruz-Style Red Snapper – A New Take on a Very Old Classic

Fish “Veracruz” was the first “authentic” Mexican recipe I ever ate. I had it 30 years ago at the Casa Del Sol in Saranac Lake, NY, where I worked while enrolled in culinary school. 

I remember trying and loving it, and being very surprised that “this” was actually Mexican food. Besides…olives on fish? That was some crazy stuff.

Up to that point, the only “Mexican” food I’d ever had was crispy cafeteria tacos made by completely non-Mexican lunch ladies. So, this kind of thing was very exciting for me. I’ve forgotten the exact recipe after all these years of adaptation, but that’s of little consequence as it’s the kind of dish you make a little different every time anyway.

I like red snapper for this, but any white, flaky fish will work. By the way, many Veracruz-style fish recipes call for pickled jalapenos, but I think there’s plenty of acidity in this from the lime and tomatoes, so I like the fresh pepper a little more.

If you don’t want to do this in individual portions like I did, you can certainly do it in a regular casserole dish, but you’ll probably need to give it a few extra minutes. Simply use the same fork-flaking doneness test as shown in the clip. Flakiness never lies.

This food wish goes out to all of you that asked for flavorful, foolproof fish recipes. I’m not sure why people get so scared to cook fish, but if you’re one of them, this is for you. Other than a few minutes of slicing, this couldn’t be easier. Serve simply with some chips, or over rice for a more substantial meal. Either way, I hope you give this a try soon. Enjoy!

Ingredients for 2 servings:
2 boneless red snapper filets, about 7 oz each
cayenne, salt and pepper to taste
2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 white onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon capers
1 tablespoon caper brine
1 large jalapeno, sliced, seeded
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
1/3 cup sliced Castelvetrano green olives, or any green olive
2 tablespoon fresh chopped oregano
2 limes
*Bake at 425 degrees F. for 15-20 minutes

View the complete recipe