Sundays are a very special day in Mexico; it is time to gather, time to visit family, friends or both. Today’s recipe is a Sunday classic or a great dish to cook for a weekend with friends. Many families actually gather at an early hour of the day to help cooking just doing bits of chopping and chatting away while the pots heat up, so I hope this recipe gives you an excuse to call everybody to the kitchen and chat away while cooking a delicious fish.
Pescado a la Vercruzana can be translated as ‘Veracruzana Fish’, the sauce style comes from ‘Veracruz’. Veracruz is a very unique colonial state in Mexico, it is renowned for its seafood cuisine which is a fusion of coast-style-food and Spanish food. The amazing thing about this recipe is that all ingredients are widely available! The ingredients required are for this delicious fish are:
- Olive Oil
- 1 Onion
- 4 Finely chopped garlics
- 6 Large tomatos
- 2 Potatos
- 1 Large carrot
- Ground Pepper
- Garlic Salt
- Sea Salt
- Mixed Herbs (Thyme, sage, and parsley)
- Black Olives
- 4 Fillets of fish or a large fish (In Mexico we would generally use Huachinango, however, in Ireland an excellent flavorsome substitute is Seabass)
- Jalapenio chillies
The first thing is to chop the onion and garlic, while the olive oil warms up in a pot. In another pot, put boiling water, three pinches of salt, the carrot and the potatos to boil (we will use this at a later stage)
Once that the oil is hot, we add the finely chopped onions and garlic.
While the onion and garlic are giving all its flavour to the oil, chop the tomatos and add them to the pot as soon as the onion and garlic look transparent.
Add the tomatos little by little so your sauce starts getting juicy. At this point you may also add a pinch or two of salt, three pinches of garlic salt, oregano and the mix of herbs. Simmer for 3 minutes, moving it with a spoon from time to time. Your sauce should start looking like this:
Now, it is time to take the carrot out of the boiling pot and chop it in small cubes. Then, add the carrot cubes and already chopped olives to the sauce.
Leave the sauce to simmer for another 3 – 5 minutes. Now, it is time to heat up the pan where we will cook the fish, while the pan is heating up, wash the fish and dry it with a paper towel on both sides, then season with garlic salt and pepper. Once that the pan is hot enough add a spoon of butter and let it melt, then add the fish and cook for about 3 – 4 minutes, the fish will then go into the oven, so avoid over cooking it, as this would dry up the sauce. Repeat the process as many times as required, some people prefer to cook once fillet at a time, it is up to you.
While the fish is ready take out a baking tray that is deep enough to contain the fish and sauce. Take out the potatoes that you boiled earlier and chop them in slices. In the baking tray, first, place a layer of sauce, then place the potatoes on the edges of the tray and then place the fish in the middle.
It is time now to cover the fish with the rest of the sauce. The fish should be totally covered with sauce and look like this:
Place the tray in the oven at 180 degrees, for about 12 – 15 minutes. You can simply take the tray straight to the table and let everybody help themselves or here my presentation suggestion with: jalapenios on top, and on the side a bit of white rice, “macho” banana chips (plantain chips) and veg.
Another suggestion for this dish, if you have the facilities at home, is to get a massive fish and grill it! – You will see the impressed faces of your guests.