Fish Veracruz (Pescado Veracruzana)

Swordfish Veracruz

Pescado a la Veracruzana or fish in the style of Veracruz is a simple dish that comes together in under 30 minutes and works with almost any type of fish. Despite its uncomplicated preparation it’s one of those perfect dishes that is light, yet full of flavour, while festive enough to serve to dinner guests.

The list of ingredients reads more like it originated around the Mediterranean than the Gulf of Mexico, but as the name implies, it’s a regional specialty from the southeastern Mexican state of Veracruz. A coastal area, Veracruz is known for it’s abundant seafood and a rich culinary history heavily influenced by Spain, and there’s a good reason for this. Veracruz where Hernán Cortés established the first Spanish colony nearly five hundred years ago.

I used swordfish steaks tonight because that’s what was on sale, but this is great with almost any type of fish, including red snapper (huachinango), halibut (hipogloso), skate (raya), and salmon (salmón). The Veracruz sauce also makes a superb accompaniment for other types of seafood such as mussels and scallops.

Tonight, I served this Espadon a la Veracruzana with a side of arroz con puerco but it would be just as tasty with some yuca or homemade corn tortillas.

Fish Veracruz

4 pieces of fish (snapper, salmon, halibut or swordfish all work great)
1 small onion diced
4 large cloves of garlic minced
3 medium tomatoes diced
1 Serrano chili minced
1/2 C pitted green olives sliced in half
1/3 C capers in brine drained
1/2 tsp Mexican oregano
1/4 tsp marjoram
1 California bay leaf
1/2 tsp kosher salt (halve if using table salt)
2 Tbs cilantro minced
lime wedges

For the Veracruz sauce, fry the onions and garlic in a couple tablespoons of olive oil until soft and translucent. Add the tomatoes, chili, olives, capers, oregano, marjoram and bay leaf. Cook over medium high heat for about 20 minutes to reduce the amount of liquid and concentrate the flavours. Taste it and add salt as needed (about 1/2 tsp of kosher salt should do it).

To get the fish crisp and brown on the outside, you need to get the surface very dry, use paper towels and try to get as much moisture off the surface as possible. Start heating a cast iron pan over medium high heat.

When the pan is very hot, lightly salt and pepper both sides of the fish. Add a splash of oil to the pan and swirl to coat. Put the fish into the pan and do not touch until it starts turning brown around the edges and no longer sticks to the pan. Gently flip and brown the other side. If you’re cooking thicker cuts of fish, the center should read 125 degrees F on an instant read thermometer.

When it’s cooked, plate the fish. Stir the minced cilantro into the sauce. Cover the the fish with the Veracruz sauce and garnish with some spare cilantro leaves and a wedge of lime.

  • http://www.openkyoto.com/ KyotoFoodieのPeko

    This is a wonderful dish and thank you for the brief history lesson as well!

  • http://www.openkyoto.com KyotoFoodieのPeko

    This is a wonderful dish and thank you for the brief history lesson as well!

  • Sea Food Lover

    What a dish delicia! Works with many different sea foods.

  • Sea Food Lover

    What a dish delicia! Works with many different sea foods.

  • http://www.bitemekitchen.blogspot.com/ Rose

    That looks gorgeous! I’ve seen many versions of this, but your photograph is sealing the deal for me. Fresh delicious fish, served perfectly!

  • http://www.bitemekitchen.blogspot.com Rose

    That looks gorgeous! I’ve seen many versions of this, but your photograph is sealing the deal for me. Fresh delicious fish, served perfectly!

  • http://www.bingenyc.com/ Sam@BingeNYC

    Looks brilliant! Love swordfish.

  • http://www.bingenyc.com Sam@BingeNYC

    Looks brilliant! Love swordfish.

  • http://kitchensidecar.blogspot.com/ katiek @kitchensidecar

    nice. have you ever tried to use avocado leaves before? they are so so fragrant. sometimes i substitute them in for bay leaves.

  • http://kitchensidecar.blogspot.com katiek @kitchensidecar

    nice. have you ever tried to use avocado leaves before? they are so so fragrant. sometimes i substitute them in for bay leaves.

  • http://cheffresco.com Cheffresco

    Yum! Looks delicious – especially that veracruz sauce!

  • http://cheffresco.com/ Cheffresco

    Yum! Looks delicious – especially that veracruz sauce!

  • http://www.choebrothers.com/ alecho

    this is perfect for me! I’ve only made two fish dishes before, and maybe I should give this a try! thanx yo yo yo yo! :)

  • http://www.choebrothers.com alecho

    this is perfect for me! I’ve only made two fish dishes before, and maybe I should give this a try! thanx yo yo yo yo! :)

  • http://www.phamfatale.com/ Jackie at PhamFatale.com

    This is a killer dish, everything looks so perfect, especially the caper/tomato relish!

  • http://www.phamfatale.com/ Jackie at PhamFatale.com

    This is a killer dish, everything looks so perfect, especially the caper/tomato relish!

  • http://simplyscrumptiousfoodie.com/ Jessie

    first off let me just say how beautiful that dish looks, so colorful and vibrant. The Veracruz sauce sounds addictive, I probably would put it on any Mexican dish!

  • http://simplyscrumptiousfoodie.com Jessie

    first off let me just say how beautiful that dish looks, so colorful and vibrant. The Veracruz sauce sounds addictive, I probably would put it on any Mexican dish!

  • http://tastewiththeeyes.blogspot.com/ Lori Lynn

    Lovely dish! I make it with seabass, and thanks for reminding me, I think I’ll put this on my list to make soon. I like your rice side too.
    LL

  • http://tastewiththeeyes.blogspot.com/ Lori Lynn

    Lovely dish! I make it with seabass, and thanks for reminding me, I think I’ll put this on my list to make soon. I like your rice side too.
    LL

  • http://www.kalofagas.ca/ Peter

    Love this. A simple dish that’s dressed with seasonal ingredients. The presentation of this dish would surely gain some “ooohs & aaahs”.

  • http://www.kalofagas.ca Peter

    Love this. A simple dish that’s dressed with seasonal ingredients. The presentation of this dish would surely gain some “ooohs & aaahs”.

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  • http://www.facebook.com/josiehaertzen Josie Lynn Haertzen

    I’m cooking this tonight for the first time on the suggestion of a family member. My Dad and brother just got back from fishing from San Jose del Cabo and brought back a bunch of lovely dorado and tuna fillets. My brother’s a lucky bastard! Oh well: I get to go ice-fishing for walleye this winter, and I’m definitely better suited for the snow than for the heat.

    • http://norecipes.com Marc Matsumoto

      Sounds awesome! Good luck!

  • westward jen

    Made this last night. Fabulous with any fish, but I am using the left over sauce for shrimp tonight. I will definitely make this for company; easy and delicious! A new favorite.

  • Lulu

    I used this recipe with sockeye salmon tonight. It is delicious! Very healthy and flavorful. This recipe is a keeper, thank you!

  • Mexican Cook

    Should be called “Veracruzano-inspired,” instead; very few authentic ingredients, the procedure is all off. This recipe is definitely not meant for salmon, as this fish’s flavor overpowers the subtle combination of the herbs. Definitely a recipe for non-Mexicans.

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