Fish in spicy tomato sauce: Pescado a la veracruzana

articles Food & Cuisine Recipes

Karen Hursh Graber

This is one version of the Veracruz classic that is traditionally made with huachinango, red snapper. If snapper is too pricey, I just buy whatever firm fleshed white fish is more reasonable. This has everything you could want in a healthy Mexican dish — bright flavors and lean protein, without sacrificing regional authenticity. It’s fine to use canned tomatoes if fresh ones are out of season, pale and flavorless, where you live.


  • 1 ½ pounds firm fleshed, white fish filets
  • juice of 1 fresh lime
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • ½ medium onion, sliced into thin crescents (“lunitas“)
  • 1 large clove garlic, minced
  • 2 ½ cups chopped tomatoes
  • 1 bay leaf
  • pinch dried oregano
  • ¼ teaspoon dried thyme leaves
  • 1 tablespoon capers, rinsed
  • ¼ cup green olives, halved (the pimento-stuffed ones are fine)
  • 1-2 pickled jalapeños cut into strips
  • chopped parsley and lime wedges for garnish

Place the fish filets in a non-reactive baking dish and sprinkle with lime juice. Set aside for 10-15 minutes.

In a large skillet, heat the oil and cook the fish filets for 2 minutes on each side. Remove and set aside.

Add the onion to the skillet and cook until it begins to wilt. Add the garlic and continue cooking for 1 minute. Add the tomatoes, herbs, and remaining ingredients and cook until some of the juice from the tomatoes has evaporated.

Return the fish filets to the pan and continue cooking until they flake easily with a fork, about 6 more minutes.

Serve the fish filets with the sauce spooned over them, sprinkled with chopped parsley and garnished with lime wedges. Serves 6.

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Published or Updated on: January 1, 2009 by Karen Hursh Graber © 2009


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