This dish takes advantage of Veracruz’ abundant variety of seafood. It is quite adaptable, in that just about any other kind of seafood or fish can be added, including squid, shelled oysters, clams or mussels. The cazón, or baby shark, used in Veracruz can be substituted with any firm-fleshed white fish. Most fish markets in Mexico sell the small cocktail shrimp called pacotillo already shelled and cooked, as well as cooked, shelled crabmeat. This recipe is from Doña Carmen Titita Ramírez, Veracruz native and owner of Mexico City’s El Bajío restaurant.
- 4 ounces octopus, cooked until tender
- 4 ounces shrimp, cooked and shelled (or use cooked pacotillo shrimp)
- 4 ounces cooked crabmeat
- 4 ounces cazón or any firm-fleshed white fish, such as grouper, poached
- 3 tablespoons flour
- 4 tablespoons olive or vegetable oil
- 2 pounds tomatoes, chopped
- 1 medium onion, peeled and chopped
- 2 jalapeño chiles, chopped (remove seeds for less heat if desired)
- 4 eggs, beaten
- salt to taste
- 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
- Cut all seafood and fish into uniform size pieces, place in a bowl and toss lightly with the flour.
- Heat the oil in a large, non-stick frying pan, add the tomatoes, onion and chiles and sauté until soft. Add the seafood mixture and toss gently to combine.
- Add the egg, salt to taste and parsley, shaping and flattening the torta with a spatula and pushing the eggs away from the sides of the pan as they set. This will take up to 10 minutes over low heat.
- When the bottom of the torta is firm, invert it onto a large, flat plate and slide it back into the pan. Cook over low heat until the other side is set and lightly browned, up to 10 minutes more.
- Slide the torta onto a large plate, allow to cool for a few minutes, and cut into serving size pieces. Serves 8 as an appetizer.