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Red Snapper Veracruz Style

By Chef John Ash

This is one of the classic and simple dishes of Mexico from the important seacoast town of Vera Cruz. You can make it with any firm-fleshed white fish such as grouper, halibut, sea bass, tilapia, etc. This is fantastic paired with The Cutrer Chardonnay.

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    Serves 4

    Total Time 45 minutes - 1 hour

    Prep Time 10 minutes

    Difficulty Level Easy


    1 28-oz can diced fire roasted tomatoes (drained with juices reserved)

    1/4 c extra-virgin olive oil

    1 c finely chopped white onion

    3 large garlic cloves, finely chopped

    1/2 tsp pure smoked hot paprika or other chili powder

    2 small bay leaves

    2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley

    1 tsp dried Mexican oregano

    1/4 c chopped pitted green olives

    2 tbsp raisins

    2 tbsp drained capers

    2 limes cut into wedges

    4 5-oz red snapper fillets

    3 pickled jalapeño chiles, sliced into rounds (optional)

    Sea salt and freshly ground pepper

    Cooked shrimp and cilantro sprigs to garnish


    1. Place drained tomatoes in medium bowl. Using potato masher or your hands, crush tomatoes to coarse puree.

    2. Heat oil in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and cook until softened a lightly browned. Add garlic and chili powder and stir for one minute. Add tomato puree, bay leaves, parsley, and oregano. Simmer until sauce thickens, about 3 minutes.

    3. Add olives, raisins, capers and reserved tomato juices. Simmer until sauce thickens again, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes. Season sauce to taste with salt, pepper and additional chili heat if desired. Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate.

    4. Preheat oven to 425°F. Spread 1/3 cup sauce in bottom of glass baking dish. Arrange fish in a single layer on top. Season generously with salt, pepper, and drops of lime juice. Spoon remaining sauce over. Bake uncovered until fish is just opaque in center, about 10 minutes depending on thickness of fish.

    5. Transfer fish with sauce to warm plates. Garnish with pickled jalapeño halves, shrimp and cilantro. Serve with remaining lime wedges.

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