Made in Mexico: Pescado a la Veracruzana (Veracruz-Style Fish)

September 16, 2019 (Last Updated: February 18, 2020)
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Delicious, easy, and fresh Veracruz-Style Fish features an aromatic sauce of tomatoes, olives and capers. Make it with whole fish or fillets for a fast and enticing meal hailing from Mexico’s coastal region.

a fish fillet with a tomato and caper sauce served with white rice

Happy Mexican Independence Day! I can’t think of a better day of the year, other than perhaps Cinco de Mayo, to celebrate Mexican cuisine and talk to y’all about this gorgeous new cookbook by Danny Mena called Made in Mexico.

a plate of enchiladas with red sauce and cheese

First of all, I have a decent array of Mexican cookbooks in my collection. Some of them focus on specific types of dishes, like tacos or salsas. But Made in Mexico is a unique cookbook offering, as it’s not only a book full of mouthwatering recipes, but also a glimpse into the food scene of Mexico City.

a close up of chicken on a white plate

The recipes within are approachable and appetizing. My only qualm with the book is that all the recipes titles are in Spanish only without an English translation. I find that in books featuring international cuisine it is very helpful for English-speaking audiences to have the names of the dishes listed in both languages. When I look at the Table of Contents I have no idea what most of it says. I would have to flip through the book and read the ingredient lists and look at the pictures to know what is what (which isn’t all bad, but it almost defeats the purpose of having a handy Table of Contents listing all the chapters and recipes).

soup being poured into a white and blue bowl

This is not your typical Mexican cookbook full of tacos and tamales. It bursts at the seams with a plethora of traditional and contemporary Mexican recipes derived from the heart of Mexico, in the country’s capital. Recipe introductions refer to the actual Mexico City restaurants from which they originate.

a bowl of chopped tomatoes, green olives, and capers
Sauce ingredients ready to go!

I have compiled a long list of recipes I’d like to try, the first of which boasts the coastal flavors of Veracruz, a seaside state and city on the Gulf of Mexico. Pescado a la Veracruzana is a crowd-pleasing fish dish made with either a whole fish or fish fillets smothered in a tomato sauce infused with olives and capers. The flavors are reminiscent of of an Italian puttanesca, a bit of spice, some brininess, salt and acidity.

A close up of cooked tomato sauce with green olives and capers

Although preparing the dish with a whole fish has a certain visual appeal, it cooks faster, and is easier to serve and eat if you opt for fillets. I used skin-on red snapper fillets, but any flaky white fish will do. I may try tilapia next time.

overhead view of fish fillet with tomato sauce and white rice

I absolutely loved this fish dish, and I have really enjoyed exploring Made in Mexico. Mexican food is one of my favorite global cuisines, and I am always looking to add more Mexican flair to my repertoire!

A close up of a plate of fish with a fork
Veracruz style fish with tomato, caper, and olive sauce with side of rice

Pescado a la Veracruzana (Veracruz-Style Fish)

Delicious, easy, and fresh Veracruz-Style Fish features an aromatic sauce of tomatoes, olives and capers. Make it with whole fish or fillets for a fast and enticing meal hailing from Mexico's coastal region.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Total Time 45 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine Mexican
Servings 4 servings
Calories 730 kcal


  • 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 yellow onion minced
  • 4 cloves garlic thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons white wine
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 4 plum tomatoes chopped
  • 1 teaspoon fresh oregano leaves or 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 sprig fresh thyme
  • 10 to 14 pitted Manzanilla or other green olives, roughly chopped
  • 2 tablespoons capers
  • 2 canned pickled jalapeno peppers chopped (I chopped a small handful of my homemade sliced pickled jalapenos–see notes for link)
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 large whole red snapper (3 to 4 pounds) or other flaky white fish or substitute 1 1/2 pounds boneless skin-on fillets


  • Heat 1/2 tablespoon of the olive oil in a large saute pan over medium-low heat. Add the onions and garlic and cook just until the onions are translucent, about 3 minutes. Add the wine and bay leaves and cook until the wine is almost completely evaporated. Add the tomatoes, oregano, thyme, olives, capers, and jalapeno and reduce the heat to low. Cook until the tomatoes are completely soft, stirring often, about 10 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste. Raise the heat if necessary to evaporate most of the liquid. Stir in the parsley.
  • If using a whole fish, score each side with three or four deep slashes (this will help the sauce penetrate the fish and keep it from curling up). If using fillets, remove the pinbones using fish tweezers or needle-nose pliers, and season the flesh-side with salt and pepper.
  • In a pan large enough to hold the whole fish (or the fillets in a single layer), heat the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the whole snapper and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, until golden brown. Carefully flip the fish and pour the tomato mixture on top. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cover. Cook for about 10 minutes, until the fish is cooked through (the thickest part of the fish should flake easily when prodded with a fork). If using fillets, cook skin down first, then flip and add the tomato mixture, following the directions provided above (it won’t take as long to cook as the whole fish).
  • To serve, divide the fish evenly among four plates and top with the sauce. Serve with white rice.

Notes & Nutrition

Make homemade pickled jalapenos using my easy recipe.
Adapted from Made in Mexico
Servings 4.0 * calories 730 * Total Fat 24 g * Saturated Fat 2 g * Monounsaturated Fat 11 g * Polyunsaturated Fat 2 g * Trans Fat 0 g * Cholesterol 205 mg * Sodium 1117 mg * Potassium 198 mg * Total Carbohydrate 6 g * Dietary Fiber 2 g * Sugars 3 g * Protein 115 g
*All nutritional information is based on third-party calculations and should be considered estimates. Actual nutritional content will vary with brands used, measuring methods, portion sizes and more.*

*Disclaimer* I received no compensation to write this review other than a free copy of the book. My opinions are always my own.

Amazon disclosure – We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to and affiliated sites.


  • Reply
    January 16, 2020 at 10:04 pm

    5 stars
    I don’t make fish very often at home, and I can say with total honesty that I don’t think I’ve ever had red snapper. I really want to try this!!

    • Reply
      January 16, 2020 at 10:11 pm

      It’s so good! You could try a different type of fish if you want, but put that sauce on anything and I’d eat it! Yum.

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