Tuesday, March 29, 2005


Snapper Veracruz

Recently, while in a frenzy of dusting, scrubbing and purging, I came across my notebooks from cooking school; each single subject spiral-bound covered one (two-week long) class, and includes recipes, notes, and some interesting stains. What they had in common, was that all but one (Introduction to Asian Cookery, with Rhoda Yee) contain a recipe for Snapper Veracruz. It is a lovely dish, very bright and vibrant, full of terrific colors and flavors, and it incorporates several important basic skills, but why every single chef thought we needed to master that particular dish, I can’t tell you. Thinking it might be fun to revisit, I went ahead and made it last night, and I have to say, it is a beautiful symphony of culinary techniques (chop, dice, mince, sauté, reduce and adjust. Let alone, “don’t overcook your fish.”) in what seems like a terribly simple dish. Of course, each chef had their own recipe, so I took the best ideas from all of them and came up with this. Try it and enjoy! Veracruz, by the way, is a State in Mexico…

1/2 cup unsalted butter
6 large garlic cloves, finely minced
6 scallions, sliced
1 large onion, medium dice
4 ripe, red tomatoes, chopped
3 jalapenos, tops removed but not seeded, finely chopped
1/4 cup cilantro leaves
¼ cup large green olives, chopped
2 tablespoons capers, drained and minced
½ cup dry white wine
2 1/2 pounds skinless red snapper fillets

Melt the butter over medium heat in a sauté pan large enough to hold the fish in one layer. Add the garlic and cook 1 minute , stirring constantly. Add the scallions and onion and cook 1 minute longer, stirring often. Add the tomatoes, chiles, cilantro, olives and capers and stir well to combine. Add the wine and cook, stirring often, until the sauce is reduced slightly, about 5 minutes.

Add the fish to the pan in one layer. Adjusting the heat to maintain a low simmer, cook the fish, uncovered, just until the flesh begins to turn opaque, 1 minute. Carefully turn the fish with a spatula and cook on the other side for about 1 minute more; the flesh should still be slightly undercooked. Remove from the head and allow the fish to cool in the sauce. Serve with a wedge of lime.

Serves six


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"Tell me what you eat, and I will tell you what you are"- Anthelme Brillat-Savarin

I love this recipe. It worked out so well, and my family loved it too. I will be making it again. Thanks Rachel!
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