Red Snapper with Veracruz style sauce

Red Snapper with Veracruz style sauce

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  • 2 garlic cloves plus 6 garlic cloves, chopped, extra
  • 2 tbsp white vinegar
  • 1.5 kg red snapper cleaned (see Note)
  • 80 ml ⅓ cup olive oil
  • cup chopped white onion
  • ½ cup sliced jalapeño seeds removed
  • 4 cups diced tomato
  • salt to taste
  • 6 Mexican bay leaves
  • ½ bunch thyme
  • ½ cup pickled jalapeños 2 tbsp pickling liquid reserved
  • 1 cup green olives 2 tbsp brine reserved
  • ½ cup capers drained
  • steamed white rice warmed tortillas, to serve


  • Blend the 2 whole garlic cloves and the white vinegar until fine.
  • Reserve.
  • Score the snapper with four deep cuts diagonally down each side of the fish.
  • Place in a 20 cm x 40 cm non-reactive flameproof baking pan (a fish poacher will also work perfectly).
  • Add enough water to the pan to reach a depth of 2 cm, then place over medium heat.
  • Cover and cook, undisturbed, for 25 minutes.
  • After 20 minutes, remove the lid from the fish tray and check for doneness.
  • Add the Mexican bay leaves and the thyme.
  • Meanwhile, heat a 30 cm deep saucepan over medium.
  • Add the olive oil and onion and cook gently, without colouring, for 5 minutes or until softened.
  • Add the extra garlic and continue cooking, stirring frequently, for 2 minutes.
  • Add the jalapeño strips and continue cooking for a further 5 minutes or until softened.
  • Add the garlic vinegar.
  • Stir through, then add the diced tomato and season the mixture with salt.
  • Continue cooking for 10 minutes, stirring frequently.
  • Pour the tomato mixture over the fish, then add the pickled jalapeños, capers, olives and reserved olive brine.
  • Stir gently into the sauce taking care not to break up the fish.
  • Continue cooking for a further 10 minutes or until the tomato is softened though.
  • To serve, gently lift the fish onto a platter, then spoon the sauce over.
  • Serve with steamed white rice and warmed tortillas.


Any white-fleshed fish will work perfectly with this sauce, but cooking times will vary depending on size and thickness of the fish.
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