Friday, November 19, 2010

Huachinango a la Veracruzana

Huachinango - Red Snapper
The first part is not my recipe for Red Snapper Vera Cruz style.
3 lb Snapper
1 Bay leaf
1 tsp Salt
1/4 tsp Oregano
2 tbs Lime juice
12 Olive, green; halved
2 lbs Tomato
2 tbs Capers
1/4 c Olive oil
2 Jalapenos en escabeche
1 Onion; finely sliced
1/2 tsp Salt
2 Garlic cloves
2 sprigs cilantro - as garnish

Slice the onions finely. Peel and slice the garlic. Cut the jalapenos
into strips. Set them all aside. Clean the fish, leaving the head and
tail on. Prick the fish on both sides with a coarse-tined fork, rub in
the salt and lime juice, and set aside in the dish to season for about
two hours. Skin, seed, and chop the tomatoes roughly. Set them aside.
Heat the oil and fry the onion and garlic, without browning, until
they are soft. Add the tomatoes, with the bay leaf, oregano, olives,
capers, jalapenos, and salt to the pan and cook the sauce over a brisk
flame until it is well seasoned and some of the juice has evaporated--
about ten minutes. Pour the sauce over the fish. Sprinkle the olive
oil over the sauce and bake the fish for about twenty minutes,
uncovered, on one side. Turn the fish over and continue baking it
until it is just tender--about 30 minutes. Baste the fish frequently
with the sauce during the cooking time.

The above from:
The Cuisines of Mexico Diana Kennedy

I love this dish. Fish is bland and the capers, olives and chiles spice it up just right. I had some snapper fillets one night and wanted to eat Huachinango a la Veracruzana, but Kennedy's recipe was nowhere near what I had on hand. I was in a hurry for dinner, due to hunger, too. I improvised.

Ah! I found a use for those Chiles Trompitas I made a while ago. The recipe is here at Danger! Men Cooking. My chiles have become very well aged, with the dill flavor rising and the heat falling. But any pepperocini will work. Yet, the dill adds a sin qua non note.

Red Snapper Veracruz Style - My Way

Ready to Bake
Servings: 4
Prep time: 40 minutes
Cooking time: 20 minutes for the fish, 30 for the rice

1 to 1 1/2 pounds snapper fillets
1 whole red onion (6 to 8 ozs.)
1 whole large green bell pepper, or 2 smaller ones
4 ozs. green olives, sliced
2 tbs. capers, lightly cracked if you have extra time (usually I don't)
1 to 2 chiles trompitas (or any chile in marinated in vinegar)
8 ozs. tomato sauce (canned)
1 tsp bay leaf (powdered)
1 tbs. oregano
2 to 4 dientes garlic, sliced (2 to 4 garlic cloves)
1/2 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1/4 tsp. Bijol for the rice
2 tbs. lime juice
2 fl. ozs. olive oil
4 lemon wedges
8 cilantro stems for garnish
2 cups rice

Batterie de Cuisine

baking pan large enough to hold the fish and sauce.
2 qt. saucepan for the rice
1 qt. saucepan for the sauce
sharp knives

Using a vegetable peeler, remove as much skin on the bell pepper as is easy to do. Julienne the bell pepper. Put the tomato sauce, olive oil, bell pepper, a little water, the lime juice, sugar, oregano, garlic slices and salt in the pan and heat until a simmer is reached. Cover the pot, remove from the heat and cool for 25 minutes, minimum. Slice the olives and chiles in rounds. Reserve them. When the onions and bell peppers are very small, I slice them in rounds using a mandolin. But typically, the peppers are too large for that.

Start the rice. When done, turn off the heat and allow it to keep warm.

Pre-heat the oven to 400° F. Oil the baking pan with olive oil. When the sauce is so cool it won't cook the fish on contact, put some of the sauce in the bottom of the baking pan. Next a thin layer of onions to keep the fish off the pan. Slice the onion thinly. Layer the fish over the sauce, add more sauce, some of the onions, olives, capers, and chile slices. Repeat until the last layers of fillets are covered with sauce, capers, olives and chiles, but no onions. Garnish with cilantro stems.

Bake, uncovered for 20 minutes.

To serve:

Plate up the rice, and put the fish on top of that. If you like you can put more cilantro, capers and olives on top. Even more chile rounds, but don't go overboard.

Highly hopped (spicy) beer could compliment this dish.