Pescado a la veracruzana is a classic Mexican seafood dish featuring the freshest firm white fish, olives, capers, and tomatoes. This speckled trout recipe is my stove top adaptation of using our Gulf fishing trip catch and a secret ingredient - triple sec (orange liqueur). This healthy Veracruz Style Fish dish can be ready in 30 minutes, and a scoop of rice, grain, or polenta makes a flavorful and complete meal!
Fish, I love you and respect you very much. But I will kill you dead before this day ends.~~ Ernest Hemingway, Old Man and the Sea.
👩🏻🍳 Tamara Talks - About Fishing and Veracruz Style Fish
Fishing on the Gulf of Mexico has been one of the perks of living on the border in south Texas. Given the challenges we've faced in 2020, I have found fishing to be one of the most relaxing, safe activities available for "self care."
This was our first time fishing for speckled sea trout and redfish. We didn't limit out this time, but we brought home about 10 really nice fish. Less than 24 hours after we caught it, a redfish became ceviche!
I have been working on my own version of the classic Mexican seafood dish fish Veracruz. The fresh speckled sea trout made the process all the more enjoyable. The end product was amazing!
What is fish "Veracruz?"
"Pescado a la Veracruzana" literally means fish in the style of Veracruz. The dish combines ingredients of "the old world" (Spain) and "the new world" (pre-colonial Mexico). The Spanish influence is present in the capers, the olives, tomatoes, and oregano, but what is more Mexican than chiles? It is a perfect meeting of flavors!
I have seen/cooked recipes for both oven-baked and stove top versions of this fish recipe, and love both... I opted to cook it on the stove in the interest of time. This dish is easily ready in 30 minutes! Alternatively, you can bake the fish in the sauce.
What makes my speckled trout Veracruz special?
Fresh herbs, fresh tomatoes, Hatch green chile, triple sec, and absolutely fresh speckled sea trout make my fish recipe stand out from more traditional recipes. As usual, I have taken some creative license, and do not attempt to recreate abuelita's traditional pescado a la Veracruzana.
What kind of fish can I use?
While speckled trout was my choice on photo day, you are not restricted to using this delicious fish! Red snapper (huachinango) is the traditional choice. You can use any firm white fish... Avoid oily fish like salmon. This is not an all-inclusive list!
|Do Use||Don't Use|
|speckled sea trout|
📋 Ingredients You'll Need
Here is a quick look at the ingredients in the recipe – it’s handy to use at the grocery store or as a summary of what you need. Skip to the recipe for quantities.
- olive oil
- fish fillets - You want firm white fish. Obviously, speckled sea trout is a great option, but red snapper is traditional. Tilapia, barramundi, cod, halibut are all great options.
- tomatoes - Choose tiny tomatoes if you want to blister them. You can dice romas or other tomatoes, but you won't blister them.
- shallot - Red or sweet onion are 2nd best, and yellow or white onion is fine as well. Use about ¼ cup per 2 servings.
- capers - Rinse them before using to reduce sodium.
- green olives - Slice them yourself, or buy them sliced, but choose green Spanish olives!
- green chile - Hatch green chile (chopped) is my preference. You can substitute other roasted and chopped chile (poblano or Anaheim), or mince a jalapeño or two.
- triple sec/broth - I have also used white (dry) vermouth, beer (corona), and dry sherry. You can use shrimp or seafood broth, chicken broth, vegetable broth. If you do not like to cook with alcohol, replace with broth/stock.
- bay leaves - I love fresh, but dried are fine too!
- fresh herbs - The fresh oregano from my garden is perfect in this recipe. You can use dried Mexican oregano or Mediterranean oregano in place of the fresh. Reduce to one half. I like to garnish with fresh mint or cilantro.
I like the convenience of making this fish dish in one pan. I first cook the fish and set it aside. The little browned bits add flavor to the sauce. You may prefer to cook the sauce in a separate pan, and pour it over the fish at service.
Cook the fish in a sauté pan with a drizzle of olive oil over medium-high heat.
When the fish begins to brown, turn it gently. It's okay if the fish breaks up a bit. Set fish aside, and cover with foil.
To the same pan, add tomatoes. When they begin to blister, add the shallot/onion. After 1-2 minutes, add the cumin and the garlic.
De-glaze the pan with the triple sec. Add the broth, bay leaves, and oregano. Simmer covered 5 minutes.
Add the green chile, sliced olives, and capers, and simmer an additional 5 minutes. Check seasoning.
Add the fish to reheat. Cover until ready to plate. Serve with rice or polenta.
You can bake this fish Veracruz. After making the salsa Veracruz, place the fish in a casserole dish, cover with the sauce, and bake in a 350° oven for 15-20 minutes until fish flakes with a fork (depends on thickness).
If I don't have my own wild-caught fish (speckled trout, redfish, red snapper), my "go to" is barramundi. Cod, tilapia, halibut, sea bass are all great options. Avoid oily fish like salmon, tuna, and mackerel.
YES! Add them in with the olives and capers.
NOPE! I have successfully used Corona beer (or similar), white vermouth, and dry sherry. We liked the triple sec best, but the others were good too! Add a squeeze of orange, lemon, or lime juice to get the citrus flavor. If you prefer to not cook with alcohol, replace it with additional broth.
You can use roasted poblano or Anaheim chile. I have also used a minced jalapeño.
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With the New Year on the way in just weeks, incorporating more fish and seafood into your menu planning is a great way to eat healthy in 2021! I hope you'll give this quick and easy fish Veracruz recipe a try!