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Red Snapper Vera Cruz

Joe H

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Red Snapper Veracruz

2 lbs. fresh red snapper filet, skin off (ideally two 2+ pound fish that the fishmonger has gutted and fileted for you).

2 28 oz cans San Marzano tomoatoes

½ cup olive oil

¾ cup finely chopped sweet onion

6 -8 garlic cloves, chopped

6 bay leaves

4 tblsp. chopped fresh parsley

1 tsp. Mexican oregano

½ tsp. thyme

½ tsp. marjoram

½ tsp. canela (ground cinnamon)

sea salt


20 pimento stuffed green olives

25 pitted Kalamata olives

6 tblsp. Golden raisins

4 tblsp. Capers

2 pickled jalapeno chilis, stemmed, seeded and cut lengthwise in strips

1 cup white wine (Chardonay)

Place drained tomatoes in medium bowl. Save juice remaining in cans. Using potato masher crush tomatoes to coarse puree. Drain again, reserving all juice.

Heat oil in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and stir one minute. Add garlic and stir one minute. Add tomato puree and cook one minute. Add bay leaves, parsley, oregano, thyme, marjoram, cinnamon salt, pepper and three quarter cup of reserved tomato juice. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until sauce thickens, about 3 to 5 minutes. Add olives, raisins, capers, jalapenos, wine and remaining tomato juice. Simmer, stirring occasionally until sauce thickens again, about 20-25 minutes. The sauce can be made a day ahead.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Spread 4 tbslp of sauce on the bottom of each of two 15 X 10 X 2 inch baking dishes. Arrange fish on top. Spoon remaining sauce over. Bake uncovered for about 20 minutes.

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My recipe based on first making one from Gourmet, then a second from Norman Van Aken (which I actually had in his Orlando restaurant), a third from Zarela Martinez-then taking elements of each and changing to my taste. I've probably made a dozen or more versions of this before settling on this.

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Honestly, for this I've always used Red Snapper because that is the dish most commonly used in Spain. I've also not had any difficulty in find them. I suppose other fish would do as well. I like rockfish a lot; that might work well with this. For that matter the sauce might even taste good on certain kinds of pasta.

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I made this again tonight for good friends visiting us from Ohio. Last night we went to Maestro, tonight I cooked. Quattro fromagio risotto was the first course and caramel pecan ice cream made with a hand cranked White Mountain freezer and Lewes Dairy heavy cream was the dessert. In between the Snapper Verz Cruz. I found that Wegmans in Sterling had two three pound Red Snappers that they fileted for me, yielding with the skin off about 2.4 pounds. This despite having red snapper filet in the case-I firmly believe that fileting the fish to order is better. I made the sauce a day early and let it sit overnight in the refrigerator. The result was awesome. Serious. I apologize for my braggadacio but this is a relatively easy dish to make but if you source it correctly the result is just delicious. I served it with steamed asparagus which I drizzled with good olive oil and Reggiano that I grated on top.

The recipe above notes 20 minutes approximate for baking. The filets tonight, a bit thicker, took almost 30.

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