Pescado Verracruzana / How Arturo tamed the mighty fish beastie

When i started working in Dubai 20 years back, my immediate boss was a wonderful guy called Arturo Cristiane, from Mexico. He was the man behind the menu at most of our restaurants at the time , till after he left and we made some changes . I remeber in our Latin American restaurant “Pachanga”, we had a brazilian churrasco(vertical spit),a mexican section and the Argentinian grill and a Cuban cigar bar.

On the menu or before rather we got from our Fish supplier Gerard Vouyoukas, a huge snapper one day and Arturo cooked it for lunch with an amazing sauce with onions, tomatoes, peppers and capers.

To a gringo from outside all south america seems the same..Mexico and half baked understanding of nacho chips and not much else. Luckily since id worked for Oberoi Hotels, where we had Casa Mexicana, i was exposed a little bit to Sabores Latinos( or the Flavours of Latin america), some of what Arturo would say made some sense.

so in essence we are making a spicy tomato sauce(not with chilli as such ) but peppers and capers and baking the fish with this sauce so it stays nice and moist.

  1. Fish either whole or fillets -500 g marinade with some lime juice salt and pepper.. How much you ask.well how long is a piece of string..u need approximately 10 g of salt per kg of meat or fish and 1 g of pepper but that is approximate.. some need more some less. Cooking is not an exact science its more about tinkering with combinations and sometimes experimenting till you find the next best thing.
  2. Olive oil-25 ml
  3. onion brown- 1 approximatley 125 g.. a little more or less wont make a huge diffenece
  4. garlic cloves peeled- 3-4 chopped
  5. canned diced tomato- approximately 250 g
  6. capers drained- 1 tsp/ 3 g
  7. olives- 2 tsp / 5 g
  8. capsicum/ peppers- 1 sliced thick approximately 75 g
  9. bayleaf
  10. oregano
  11. epazoate

Method-

clean and wash fish with cool water. marinade with half the olive oil, salt, pepper and lime juice. if you are using whole fish we cook it like that.

For the fillets its probably ood to just pan fry and then bake for a few minutes with the sauce/ sofrito

Heat the remaining oil and sauted onion , garlic, bayleaf and add the tomato. simmer for 15-20 minutes. then add oregano, epazoate , peppers, capers and can also add optionally some paprika or chile serrano.

The sauce is savory and tangy and just right for snapper or for that matter any sort of white fish.

Then with the whole fish you can score it and put the sauce on top and bake fr about 15-20 minutes .Serve with some arroz con tomate and you have a wonderful lunch or dinner ready..Have a glass of chardonnay or maybe some dry-ish pinot gris/grigio alongside .

If it was a fillet then after you pan fry you top with the sauce too and bake also its just that you woould bakke for lesser time to make sure the fish does not dry out.

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