Veracruz-style fish

I have adapted this recipe from the cookbook published by Rosa Mexicano, which is a New York City restaurant (and now international restaurant group) where I fondly remember having my first guacamole mixed table side and my first taste of the Mexican delicacy, huitlacoche, or corn fungus. This baked fish dish delivers a bold, brightly flavored punch – perfect for a warm summer’s night. It will transport you to a small beach, overlooking the Gulf Coast of Mexico. Check out www.seafoodwatch.org to see which sustainable fish should nestle in amongst the tomatoes.

Servings: 4-6

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds skinless, white-fleshed fish fillets, like Red Snapper, Rock Cod, Halibut
  • 2 limes, halved
  • 4 large heirloom tomatoes, about 2 pounds
  • 1 large white onion, thinly sliced
  • 8 garlic cloves
  • 1 bunch fresh thyme
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 1/3 cup chopped pickled jalapeños, reserve some of the pickling liquid
  • 1/3 cup pitted green Spanish olives, like manzanillas
  • ½ cup cilantro, chopped
  • 2 tbsp capers, drained
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • Coarse sea salt

Directions

Cut the fish fillets into 4- to 6-ounce portions and place on a baking sheet. Juice one lime over the fish and sprinkle salt on all the fillets. Let marinate at room temp for at least 30 minutes or up to four hours in the refrigerator. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Core the tomatoes and slice them crosswise into ½-inch thick rounds. Starting with the smaller rounds from the ends of the tomatoes make a layer of tomato on the bottom of a large baking dish. Next, scatter about half of the onions, garlic, thyme sprigs, bay leaves, pickled jalapenos, olives, cilantro, and capers over the tomatoes. Season everything lightly with a sprinkling of salt (remember the capers and olives are salty). Next, top with the marinated fish and then repeat with another layer of the remaining tomatoes, onions, herbs, jalapeños, olives, and capers. Juice the remaining lime over everything and add a splash or two of the reserved pickling liquid. Season the top layer of vegetables gently with salt. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for about 20-25 minutes. Uncover the baking dish and continue to cook until the juices are bubbling and the fish is cooked through, about 10-15 minutes.  Remove the bay leaves and thyme sprigs before serving. If desired, this dish can be prepared ahead of time. After seasoning the fish with lime juice and salt go straight to layering everything in the baking dish. Cover and keep in the refrigerator until ready to bake, maybe up to 6 hours or so. Remove from the fridge at least 30 minutes before baking.

Nutrition Information (per serving)

  •  
  • Calories: 275
  • Total Fat: 11 g
  • Saturated fat: 2 g
  • Cholesterol: 130 mg
  • Total Carbohydrate:14 g
  • Fiber: 5 g
  • Sugars: 5 g
  • Sodium: 75 mg
  • Protein: 31 g

Contributor

Benjamin Maring, MD