Fish Veracruz

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This dish is a take on a recipe my husband used to make for me when we were dating. He worked at a sports fishing landing in San Diego while he was in graduate school, so he always had access to freshly caught fish that people didn’t want or had too much of.

You can use any white, mild flavored saltwater fish — red snapper, mahimahi, sole, tilapia, and so on. I used pargo that my husband caught in Mexico.

I recommend using cotija cheese, a Mexican cheese similar to feta. I also recommend using a pico de gallo.

Click here to see 15 Easy Fish Recipes for Summer.

Fish Veracruz Recipe

In an attempt to keep things on the healthy side I decided to put this Fish Veracruz Recipe on the supper menu for Friday. This recipe is high in protein and low on saturated fat.

This recipe surprised me it was a lot better tasting then I thought it was going to be. I used mild salsa in this recipe because I thought the spicier salsa would overpower the fish. For the fish, I decided to use Tilapia, because of its mild flavor and usually low price, which worked out really well. Most of the seasoning for the recipe comes from the salsa which will have a major impact on how the dish is seasoned. (I used Chi Chi mild chunky style salsa) Use your favorite brand of chunky style salsa, and it should work out fine. The salsa also goes real good over baked potatoes which make an ideal side to serve with this dish. I listed the lime slices and cilantro as optional because my wife and I thought the dish was really good without these 2 ingredients that are added at the end of the recipe.

If you are looking for a health-conscious dish to put on the supper table give this Fish Veracruz Recipe a try it’s really good. Enjoy

Recipe Summary

  • 4 (6-ounce) grouper fillets (3/4 inch thick)
  • Cooking spray
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 cups chopped onion
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • ¼ cup water
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
  • 3 tablespoons fresh orange juice
  • 2 tablespoons chopped pitted green olives
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon capers
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 (10-ounce) can diced tomatoes and green chiles, undrained

Place fish in a 13 x 9-inch baking dish coated with cooking spray.

Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion saute 3 minutes. Add cumin and garlic saute 1 1/2 minutes. Add water and remaining ingredients bring to a boil. Reduce heat simmer 3 minutes or until slightly thick. Pour tomato mixture over fish.

Bake at 400° for 20 minutes or until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork.

Recipe Summary

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, diced
  • 2 pounds plum tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 1 cup tomato puree
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cube fish bouillon
  • ½ teaspoon dried oregano
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 20 pitted green olives
  • 2 tablespoons capers, rinsed
  • ¼ cup butter
  • 8 large white fish fillets
  • 6 pickled banana peppers, sliced

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease a rectangular baking dish large enough to fit the fish fillets in a single layer.

Heat olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Cook and stir onion and garlic until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in plum tomatoes and red bell pepper simmer until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in tomato puree cook for 3 to 5 minutes.

Stir salt, bouillon cube, oregano, cinnamon, pepper, and bay leaves into the saucepan. Cook until flavors combine, about 10 minutes. Add olives and capers simmer for 5 minutes. Remove sauce from heat.

Melt butter in a separate skillet over medium heat. Season fish fillets with salt and pepper cook in the hot butter until browned, 1 to 2 minutes per side.

Lay fish fillets in the baking dish in a single layer cover with sauce. Arrange sliced peppers on top. Cover baking dish tightly with aluminum foil.

Bake in the preheated oven until fish flakes easily with a fork, 10 to 15 minutes.

Pescado a la Veracruzana (Veracruz-Style Fish)

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Pescado a la Veracruzana, or Veracruz-Style Fish, is a yummy and healthy dish with tons of flavor. Not too spicy and absolutely delicious. Serve with rice.

Once when I lived in Tabasco, Mexico, my friend, Esme, wanted to do a road trip to Veracruz. We jumped in Esme’s old, beat up truck and started on the 5-hour drive.

There was no AC in the truck. Despite the intense heat and humidity of Southern Mexico, we rolled the windows down.

After a few hours, we were drenched in sweat and gulping water by the gallons. Then Esme pulled over and said she couldn’t drive anymore. Heat exhaustion had kicked in and she was about to pass out.

The problem: I didn’t drive stick shift! I got behind the wheel. Clunk… the engine shut off. Clunk… Clunk.. It turned off again.

On the third time, no clunk and somehow it started going. I drove to the nearest village where we recovered.

Whenever I make this dish, I vividly remember the time I learned to drive stick shift.

How to Make Pescado a la Veracruzana

This is the frozen tilapia package I get from Trader Joe’s.

To make Pescado Veracruz, you can make this dish with frozen fish.

The sauce for Pescado Veracruzano is flavor flavorful and will take away that yucky frozen fish flavor.

Other fish you can use:

Or any white fish. However, red snapper is traditionally used.

I do not recommend using an oily fish like salmon.

I’m using fresh tomatoes because they were on sale. Gotta a save my pesos whenever I can.

You can also use a can of stewed tomatoes to make Pescado a la Veracruzana (or Fish Veracruz).

That brings us to the name:

You will hear different names for this dish.

  • Pescado a la Veracruzana is the way that I know it.
  • Some people will call it Pescado Veracruz.
  • I’ve also heard Fish Veracruz and Pescado Veracruzana.
  • Pescado ala Veracruz
  • Flounder Veracruz
  • Only to confuse you more, there are people who also refer to this dish as Pescado Veracruzano.

You must understand that we have a lot of different names for things in Spanish. Mexicans like nicknames. Everyone has a nickname. lol.

Origins of Pescado a la Veracruzana

This dish is a collaboration of the new and old worlds.

The Old World had capers and olives.
The New World had tomatoes and chiles.

Veracruz is located on the Gulf of Mexico. It played an extremely important part in the Spanish conquest of Mexico by Hernán Cortés.

They founded Villa Rica de la Vera Cruz on May 18, 1519. It was the first Spanish town in what is now Mexico.

Capers are very salty. Be sure to drain them well before adding them to the casserole plate.

The cuisine of Veracruz is unique in that it is a mixture of indigenous foods, Spanish cuisine, and other cultural influences.

Whenever you hear a recipe is “Veracruz-style,” it usually means it has a tomato, olive, and capers mixture.

Mainly to reference that the dish is both European and indigenous in nature.

• Transfer the tomato mixture to a large casserole dish and place the fish on top.

• Add some salt to the fish and bake for 15 minutes or until fish is done.

Notice how I’m not using a lot of salt? That’s because you don’t need add extra salt.

The olives and capers are salty enough.

Make sure you’re using pitted olives. You don’t want to be taking out olive pits at the table.

Although, I really like the pimento stuffed olives, but that’s just personal choice.

On the left is chile güero. It’s a milder chile and not very spicy. Traditionally, Fish Veracruz uses this chile.

I sometimes have a hard time finding it. To substitute chile güero, use pickled jalapeño instead.

The Pescado a la Veracruzana come out just as tasty.

How to Make Pescado a la Veracruzana on the stove

  • Follow the recipe instructions below up to step 9.
  • Add a splash of water to the skillet and mix to combine.
  • Add the fish on top of the tomato mixture.
  • Reduce the heat and cover.
  • Cook on low-medium heat for 7-10 minutes, or until fish is fully cooked

Pescado a la Veracruzana will blow your tastebuds away.

It is a favorite during Lent with just the right amount of spice.

This dish is also perfect for summer or when you are trying to get ready for summer. Wink. Wink.

Serve with a side of rice, veggies, and lime wedges. Enjoy!

Pescado a la Veracruzana will last 3-4 days in the fridge. Reheat on the stove or microwave, and enjoy!

Of course using all fresh ingredients is always my first choice. But, sometimes it may not be an option. During these uncertain times, I am no longer surprised to when I don’t find my fresh staple ingredients at the market. Plan B! There should always be a plan B. I always stock basic pantry items, like fire roasted tomatoes, tomato paste, tomato sauce, beans and pickled peppers.

The Mayo Clinic Diet


  • ق pounds fish, whitefish, firm flesh fillets (such as tilapia, cod, sole, pollock or halibut)
  • ف/4 cup(s) lime juice
  • ف/2 tablespoon oil, canola
  • ف small onion(s) peeled and sliced
  • ف small pepper(s), green, bell seeded and cut into strips
  • ف/4 cup(s) pepper(s), jalapeno seeded and sliced
  • ق cup(s) salsa, fresh or pico de gallo
  • ف/2 cup(s) tomato sauce, no added salt
  • ف/2 cup(s) olives, ripe sliced
  • ف tablespoon capers
  • ل tablespoon cilantro, fresh chopped, or 4 teaspoons dried cilantro
  • ف medium lime(s) cut into 8 wedges

Arrange fish in a 9-by-13-inch baking pan. Sprinkle with lime juice. Cover and refrigerate for at least 20 minutes.

Preheat oven to 425 F. Heat oil in a large, nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion, bell pepper and jalapeno pepper. Cook and stir occasionally for 2 minutes or until vegetables are tender, yet crisp.

Stir in salsa, tomato sauce, olives and capers. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 1 minute.

Pour the sauce over the fish and bake in the preheated oven for about 20 minutes or until fish flakes easily with a fork.

Remove fish and vegetables from the pan with a slotted spatula. Serve with cilantro and lime wedges.

Calories:  160
Total Fat: 4g
Saturated Fat: 1g
Sodium: 160mg
Carbohydrates: 8g
Dietary Fiber: 2g
Protein: 24g

Veracruz Tomato Sauce for Fish

"From the day in the 16th century on which Hernán Cortés landed near what is today Veracruz, the cuisine of this Mexican state has been influenced by Spain. Trade between New Spain and the mother country was done through the fleet system&mdashthe ships first visited Havana and then Veracruz before setting sail for the port of Cádiz in Andalusia, Spain.

Perfectly at home (except for the heat of the pickled jalapeño, revealing its Mexican origin) in Andalusia and Havana, this tangy, light tomato sauce is traditionally spooned over red snapper (huachinango) and snook (róbalo, a brackish-water fish), the two most popular fishes of Veracruz."&mdashJBF Award winner Maricel Presilla

Recipes from Gran Cocina Latina: The Food of Latin America by Maricel E. Presilla. Copyright © 2012 by Maricel E. Presilla. Reprinted with permission of W.W. Norton & Company, Inc. All rights reserved.


  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 6 finely chopped garlic cloves
  • 1 large white onion, finely chopped (about 2 cups)
  • 12 medium plum tomatoes (about 2 pounds), cored and finely chopped, or canned tomatoes with some juice
  • 1/4 cup capers in brine, drained, or salt-packed capers, rinsed
  • 25 pimiento-stuffed olives, left whole or halved crosswise
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried marjoram
  • 3 pickled jalapeños, cut into thin strips
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup water


Heat the oil in a large (12-inch) heavy skillet or sauté pan. Add the garlic and sauté until golden. Add the onion and cook, stirring, until translucent, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the tomatoes and cook, stirring, for 5 minutes. Add all the remaining ingredients, lower the heat, cover the pan, and cook at a lively simmer for 10 minutes. Taste for seasoning. The sauce should have a pleasant tang and a delicate aroma.

Covered tightly and refrigerated, this sauce will keep well for 1 week.

To serve: heat the sauce in a skillet until warm. Add fish steaks, shrimp, or shredded reconstituted salt cod. Cook very briefly, just 3 to 5 minutes.

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