This recipe of red snapper cooked with the Spanish ingredients of olives, olive oil and capers melds beautifully with the ingredients native to Mexico: tomato and chillies.

Red Snapper with Veracruz style sauce
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  1. 2 garlic cloves, plus 6 garlic cloves, chopped, extra
  2. 2 tbsp white vinegar
  3. 1.5 kg red snapper, cleaned (see Note)
  4. 80 ml (⅓ cup) olive oil
  5. 1½ cup chopped white onion
  6. ½ cup sliced jalapeño, seeds removed
  7. 4 cups diced tomato
  8. salt, to taste
  9. 6 Mexican bay leaves
  10. ½ bunch thyme
  11. ½ cup pickled jalapeños (2 tbsp pickling liquid reserved)
  12. 1 cup green olives (2 tbsp brine reserved)
  13. ½ cup capers, drained
  14. steamed white rice, warmed tortillas, to serve
  1. Blend the 2 whole garlic cloves and the white vinegar until fine.
  2. Reserve.
  3. Score the snapper with four deep cuts diagonally down each side of the fish.
  4. Place in a 20 cm x 40 cm non-reactive flameproof baking pan (a fish poacher will also work perfectly).
  5. Add enough water to the pan to reach a depth of 2 cm, then place over medium heat.
  6. Cover and cook, undisturbed, for 25 minutes.
  7. After 20 minutes, remove the lid from the fish tray and check for doneness.
  8. Add the Mexican bay leaves and the thyme.
  9. Meanwhile, heat a 30 cm deep saucepan over medium.
  10. Add the olive oil and onion and cook gently, without colouring, for 5 minutes or until softened.
  11. Add the extra garlic and continue cooking, stirring frequently, for 2 minutes.
  12. Add the jalapeño strips and continue cooking for a further 5 minutes or until softened.
  13. Add the garlic vinegar.
  14. Stir through, then add the diced tomato and season the mixture with salt.
  15. Continue cooking for 10 minutes, stirring frequently.
  16. Pour the tomato mixture over the fish, then add the pickled jalapeños, capers, olives and reserved olive brine.
  17. Stir gently into the sauce taking care not to break up the fish.
  18. Continue cooking for a further 10 minutes or until the tomato is softened though.
  19. To serve, gently lift the fish onto a platter, then spoon the sauce over.
  20. Serve with steamed white rice and warmed tortillas.
  1. Any white-fleshed fish will work perfectly with this sauce, but cooking times will vary depending on size and thickness of the fish.