pescado a la veracruzana

Have you noted a Mexican theme to the blog lately? Shrimp tacos and Mexican-style brownies and avocadotacos and such? Its not so much that I’m on a Mexican food kick as it is that the tangy, bold, sweet, juicy, punchy flavors I crave in the summer are perfectly embodied in the Mexican palate.  For a dinner party with my parents and B’s parents, I wanted to make something that reflected these flavors but know that my parents are not huge fans of cheese, corn, or heavy sauces that we sometimes associate with Mexican/Tex-Mex/Southwestern cuisine. Then, I remembered that when I went to Mexico, I had the most amazing fish plucked straight out of the water and bathed in stewed sweet tomatoes, salty tart olives, and fresh herbs – these are flavors my parents would love and so I looked to the coastal region of Veracruz for this dish with red snapper and shrimp.

This dish would work well with any kind of white fish (tilapia or cod would be delicious), and the shrimp are optional but I think their sweetness is greatly complimentary to the briny sauce.  You could add or subtract to the tomato olive sauce as you like – add bell peppers, remove the anchovies – but all together it is a rich, flavorful yet still rather light and fresh tasting stew.  You can make everything through step 3 a little earlier and then pop it into the oven to cook just before dinner.

Martha Stewart’s cilantro-lime rice is verdant and subtly piquant, but you could amp it up with more lime to Chipotle’s rice levels. I made a hyuuuuge batch of this for a taco party for 22 people and it was great with these black beans. Its super convenient to make the dressing beforehand with a whir of the food processor, then stick the washed rice into the cooker so that all you have to do is toss the cooked, fluffed rice with the dressing right before serving.

Joy the Baker’s avocado orange salad is juicy, crisp, creamy and kinda perfection. I adore salads with bits of tangy, juicy citrus and personally, I don’t think you could go wrong with avocado in anything. The only changes I made were adding a second orange (because, yes please) and I didn’t do the raw egg in the dressing but used a spoon of yogurt instead. The dressing was easy to make ahead of time and I think it’s my new favorite (sorry Green Goddess, we’ll always have 2011).

Veracruz-Style Fish and Shrimp
Mexican, 2012 – Better Homes and Garden Special Publication

six 6oz fillets    fresh or frozen red snapper fillets (with or without skin)
12-18                  fresh or frozen shrimp, deveined and peeled
1/4 cup               fresh lime juice
4 tablespoons  olive oil
1/4 teaspoon   salt
1 cup                  white onion, finely chopped
4 cloves             garlic, thinly sliced
2                          canned anchovy fillets, chopped
1/3 cup              dry white wine, such as sauvignon blanc
one 28oz can   diced tomatoes, undrained
1 cup                   seafood stock or chicken broth
12                        whole pimiento-stuffed green olives
1/4 cup               sliced pickled jalapenos
2 tablespoons   capers, drained
1/2 teaspoon    crushed red pepper
1/2 teaspoon    dried oregano, crushed
1/4 cup               italian flat leaf parsley or cilantro, roughly chopped


1. Thaw fish and shrimp, if frozen. Rinse fish and shrimp; pat dry with paper towels. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly coat a 3 quart rectangular baking dish with cooking spray or oil.

2. Using a sharp knife, score fish by making three shallow cuts about 2 inches long through the skin (or flesh, if skinless) of each fillet; place fillets in prepared baking dish. Add lime juice, 2 tablespoons of the olive oil and the salt to baking dish, turning fish to coat. Arrange fillets skin side down and place 2-3 shrimp on top of each fillet; set aside.

3. In a large saucepan heat remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium-high heat. Add onion, garlic, and anchovies; cook for 3 minutes. Stir in wine; cook for 1 minute more. Add tomatoes and juice, stock or broth, olives, pickled jalapenos, capers, crushed red pepper, and oregano. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer, uncovered, for 10 minutes, stirring frequently. Immediately ladle mixture over fish and shrimp. Cover baking dish tightly with foil.

4. Bake for 13 minutes then remove foil and bake uncovered for 5 more minutes or until fish flakes easily when tested with fork. Sprinkle with parsley or cilantro. Serve with rice or  roasted potatoes.

Serves 6

One thought on “pescado a la veracruzana

  1. Pingback: time for some r&r « I Should Cocoa!

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