Ever heard the parenting adage “Children will eat what you eat”? In my humble opinion, it’s baloney. Over the years, I’ve made delicious, nutritious well-prepared home cooked meals, and for the most part, the kids have eaten what I serve. But not everything. Fish seems to be the great divider. Some prefer the rich taste of salmon. Others, the mild flavor of tilapia. In my quest to find a family favorite that all will appreciate, I have recently turned to snapper. And I think I’ve found a winner with this dish, Snapper Veracruz. Snapper is a thicker, steak-ish fish much like salmon, but with the mild taste of white fish. Marinate it in lime juice, and simmer it in a sauce of tomatoes, lime juice, jalapeños, capers and herbs, and you’ve got yourself a hearty, healthy and satisfying fish dish.
Like many classic Mexican seafood dishes, citrus juice—in this case lime—is used to marinate the fish for about an hour. This actually cooks it a little, leaving the on-hands cooking for the sauce, which is a cinch to make. You cook the tomatoes first, breaking them up, then add the rest of the ingredients, and simmer for 20 minutes. This combines the flavors.
The aroma is heavenly.
Then, when the sauce is ready, layer the fish over the top, adding a bit of the lime juice to your liking, cover with a lid, and cook for about 5 minutes, tops. I managed to fit the fillets (shown in the photo above) into a 10-inch skillet. It was a little snug, but they all cooked nicely.
When done, serve immediately with a little parsley on top, and more limes on the side. I also serve with corn tortillas.
What I like about this dish is that is full of tomatoes and herbs, with a little bit of tangy kick from the jarred jalapeños and capers.
It’s a light, satisfying meal that only has about 20 minutes hands on time, but leave an hour extra for the fish to marinade.
- 1.5 lbs red snapper fillets (about 4 smaller fillets)
- 2 limes
- 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 large yellow onion, diced
- 6 garlic cloves, diced
- 28 oz can whole tomatoes
- 1 cup chopped green manzanilla olives
- 2 tbsp capers, drained
- 2 tbsp jarred jalapenos, chopped
- 3 tbsp pitted jalapeno juice
- 2 tbsp chopped fresh Italian parsley
- 2 sprigs fresh rosemary, chopped
- 2 sprigs fresh marjoram, chopped
- 2 bay leaves
- freshly ground black pepper
- corn tortillas to serve with
- Place fish in a shallow baking dish (9 x 13) and sprinkle with salt. Cut limes in half and squeeze juice all over fillets. Place limes in baking dish, cover, and marinate in refrigerator for an hour.
- Heat oil in a 10-inch skillet (or larger), over medium-low heat. Add onions and cook until lightly browned, about 15 minutes. Stir in garlic and cook until fragrant, about a minute more.
- Pour tomatoes in a non-reactive bowl and break up using a potato masher or your hands, then pour into the skillet. Cook for 10 minutes.
- Add the olives, jalapeno juice, capers, and all the herbs. Season with salt and pepper and simmer over low heat for 20 minutes.
- Add fish and the marinade. Nestle the fish in the sauce, and cover and simmer for 4 minutes or until fish are opaque and flaky.
- When ready to serve, you can optionally remove the bay leaf and the limes.
- Serve with warmed corn tortillas.
You'll need to judge how much of the marinade you want to add. If you used a lot of lime juice over the fish, adding that all will make your dish more soupy, but tangy. I used about ¼ cup of lemon juice--alot--and the photos, especially the first one, show how the dish leaned towards the side. (Which was perfect for me.)