Red Snapper Fish Recipe, Veracruz style

Veracruz de Ignacio de la Llave is a state of Mexico; its territory is a long and irregular strip of land delimited by mountains on one side and by the sea on the other. Three native cultures have inhabited the territory of what is now the state of Veracruz: the Huastecs, the Totonacs and Olmecs, which some researchers say, formed together a vast community of related peoples, ethnically and culturally.

Perhaps it is the combination of all these different cultures from the past that has caused the culinary diversity Veracruz now enjoys. Many of the traditional Mexican recipes come from there, and every part of the state has something unique and distinctive. While the gastronomy of Veracruz is full of surprises, it is most famous for its dishes from the sea, like pickled fish, octopus in its ink, white rice, shrimp patties, the fried fish, the chilpachole and the famed huachinango (red snapper) a la Veracruzana. To explore this cuisine from Veracruz, let's start with this recipe for fish, but its an important one...

Mexican recipe for Pescado a la Veracruzana

Ingredients for 4-6 people:

• 2 tablespoons olive oil
• 4 cloves garlic, minced
• 1/2 cup finely chopped onion,
• 2 pounds red tomatoes, peeled and finely chopped
• 1 green pepper cut in juliennes
• 1 teaspoon salt
• 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
• 2 bay leaves
• 1 teaspoon dried oregano
• 1/2 cup green olives, pitted and chopped
• 1/4 cup capers
• 6 red snapper fillets, or any other firm white fleshed fish
• 2 tablespoons butter
• 6 gueros chiles or canned jalapeno chiles in rounds, to garnish


1) Heat the oil in a pan, then add the garlic and onion, saute for three minutes. Add tomatoes and bring to a boil. Add green pepper and mixing, cook for two minutes, add salt, pepper, bay leaves and the oregano.

2) When the mixture returns to boil, cover and simmer for eight minutes. Add olives and capers and cook for five minutes. Check the seasoning and pull away from the heat of the stove.

3) Twenty minutes before serving, preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Rinse the fish fillets and dry them with a paper towel, then sprinkle with salt and pepper.

4) Meanwhile, roast the pumpkin seeds without letting them brown, and then add them to the water into which the tomatoes were cooked; blend to form a thick, cream-like paste.

5) Melt the butter in a skillet and sear the fillets on both sides. Then place in a baking dish, pour the tomato with salt sauce over, cover with foil and bake 10 to 15 minutes.

6) Garnish with gueros chiles or jalapeno chiles before serving.

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