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.
1teaspoonfresh oregano leaves or ½ teaspoon dried oregano
1sprig fresh thyme
10 to 14pitted Manzanilla or other green olives,roughly chopped
2canned pickled jalapeno pepperschopped (I chopped a small handful of my homemade sliced pickled jalapenos--see notes for link)
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
1tablespoonchopped fresh parsley
1large whole red snapper (3 to 4 pounds) or other flaky white fish(or substitute 1 ½ pounds boneless skin-on fillets)
Heat ½ 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.