I’ve never been a huge fish fan. Up until recently, I really only really liked fresh caught trout, smoked salmon, or a very good beer-battered fish (they’re hard to find). Otherwise, I usually find fish to be too bland and dry for my taste. But with our healthier eating kick, we’ve tried to work more fish into our diet, and so I’ve looked for new ways to spice fish up a bit. One of those ways is by preparing it in a Mexican Veracruz style (the very deep south)!
The tomato, pepper, olive and caper sauce not only keeps it moist, but also brings a ton of flavor to the dish and make a bright and colorful dinner for entertaining as well. We used Red Snapper when we made it, but the original recipe I used called for sea bass or any other firm whitefish, so you can really use whatever is fresh at your local fish market or butcher counter. We also substituted a couple of jalapenos for the bell pepper in the original recipe, but that’s just because we crave the burn. I don’t think it was particularly spicy the way we made it, but if you are not spice tolerant, you could use Anaheims or Bells, depending on your preference. Either way, it is well spiced, even if you don’t make it picante’.
- 1 Tbsp canola oil
- 4-6 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1 Medium onion, finely chopped (between ½-1 cup)
- 2 lb tomatoes, peeled (how to peel a tomato) and finely chopped
- 1 Bell or Anaheim Pepper, or two jalapenos
- ½ Tsp pepper
- 2 Bay leaves
- 1 Tsp dried oregano
- ½ Cup chopped green olives
- ¼ Cup capers
- 1 Lb fish fillets (I used red snapper–original recipe called for six 4 oz sea bass fillets, or other firm fleshed fish)
- Mexican Seasoning like Cholula or Emeril’s, or regular seasoned salt
- 2 Tbsp butter
- 6 canned/jarred jalapenos for garnish (optional–we didn’t do this)
- Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees
- Heat oil in large saucepan, add garlic and onion, saute’ on medium-high heat until onions are opaque.
- Add peeled, diced tomatoes and bring to a boil.
- Add peppers (whichever heat level you chose above) and stir in for 2 minutes.
- Add salt, pepper, bay leaves and oregano
- Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, cover and cook for 8 minutes
- Add olives and capers, cook another 5 minutes
- Remove sauce from heat
- Sprinkle fish fillets on both sides with Mexican seasoning or seasoned salt
- Melt butter in skillet, add fillets and brown lightly on both sides over medium-high heat
- Transfer fish to greased baking dish and cover with sauce
- Cover dish with aluminum foil and bake 10-15 minutes
- Serve (garnish with a pickled pepper garnish, if desired–we didn’t).
We omitted the salt from the original recipe. The Mexican seasonings, capers, and olives provide sufficient salt.