Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Fish a la Veracruz

This was an ordinary weeknight supper that just turned out so very well. Don't you love easy meals that are fabulous? They are the best.

Several months ago, my husband won a certain amount of money from Omaha steaks in a promotion at work. He always lets me spend all his money (and that's why I love him!), so I started looking through the options, and I picked fish. I'm awful at cooking fish, mostly because we have it so very rarely. And, when we do have it, it's hard to get brave and experiment, because you're thinking "$10 a pound!" the whole time, you know? So, these 4 boxes of fish have really let me experiment some, which is great.

Sadly, this was our next to last meal of the fish. I keep telling him that he needs to convince work to do another fish promotion. Even without the free fish, this is a repeater. I'll just hunt down a sale. It's worth it.

This is a two part recipe. First you make this sauce with tomatoes and olives and capers and parsley. And you smell it in and sneak a taste. Yum!

And, then you bake the fish in the sauce. And your family swoons over it. And you know that it's a good one.

Fish a la Veracruzana
adapted from Rick Bayless's Mexico One Plate at a Time
serves 2; can be easily doubled

3/4 pounds boneless, skinless meaty fish fillets like red snapper or halibut, preferably in 2 pieces each 1/2 inch thick
Freshly squeezed lime juice and a little salt

1.5 tablespoons vegetable oil, preferably part olive oil
1/2 medium onion, thinly sliced
1 pounds (2 medium-large) ripe tomatoes, peeled and diced
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and minced
10 meaty green olives, roughly chopped
1 tablespoon capers
2 medium pickled chiles jalapenos (I used fresh this time; either is good)
1 tablespoon pickling juices from the chiles
1 teaspoons mixed dried herbs (such as marjoram and thyme)
2 tablespoons finely chopped flat-leaf parsley, plus a few sprigs of garnish
3 bay leaves
1 inch cinnamon stick
2 cloves
1/4 teaspoon black peppercorns, very coarsely ground
1 cup light-flavored fish broth, bottled clam juice or water
Salt, if necessary

The fish: Rinse the fillets, lay them in a noncorrosive dish and sprinkle them with lime juice and salt. Cover and refrigerate about an hour.

The sauce: In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium, add the onion and cook, stirring frequently, until golden, 7 or 8 minutes. Add the garlic to the lightly browned onion and stir for a minute or so, then add the tomatoes and their juice. Simmer for 5 minutes to reduce some of the liquid. Divide the olives and capers between two small bowls, and set aside one to use as garnish. To the other bowl, add the jalapenoes, pickling juice, mixed herbs and chopped parsley.

When the tomatoes are ready, add the mixture of pickled things, herbs and spices, along with the fish broth (or clam juice or water). Cover and simmer ten minutes, then taste for salt (and remove the cheesecloth-wrapped spices).

Finishing the dish: Fifteen minutes before serving, remove the fillets from the refrigerator and rinse them again. Preheat the oven to 350°. Place the fillets in a single layer in a lightly greased baking dish. Spoon the sauce over them, cover the aluminum foil and bake for 8 to 10 minutes, until the fish just flakes when pressed firmly with a fork at the thickest part.

Serve the fillets on warm dinner plates with lots of sauce, garnished with a sprinkling of the reserved capers and olives and sprig of parsley.

This post is linked to Tasty Tuesday at Balancing Beauty and Bedlam. I always pick up new recipes over there. Each week, I discover someone new. Check it out!


Scuba Girl said...

This looks DELICIOUS! I'm always looking for new recipes using seafood. My kids won't eat it, but I can make it with fish and chicken, so everyone's happy. Thank you!

the country cook said...

Very interesting! We don't love fish and are always looking for recipes that will jazz it up a bit. This one looks like a winner. - www.delightfulcountrycookin.com