Rush-Hour Gourmet

Posted: May 03, 2007

While many think of Mexican food as little more than tacos, burritos and such, there is more to that country's cuisine. Some of the best of it comes from the coastal state of Veracruz, where seafood is the specialty.

Snapper Veracruz, one of Mexico's best-known and most flavorful dishes, includes jalapeño peppers from Jalapa Enriquez, the capital of Veracruz. It can be made as hot or as mild as your tastes dictate.

The dish is usually accompanied by boiled potatoes to offset the potential heat.

This easy and elegant version is adapted from the Better Homes and Gardens' Big Book of 30-Minute Dinners (2000).

Snapper Veracruz

(Makes 6 servings)

11/2 to 2 pounds red snapper fillets, skinless (or other mild white fish)

1/8 teaspoon each: salt and pepper

1 tablespoon cooking oil

1 large onion, sliced into rings

1 teaspoon minced garlic

2 cups chopped tomato

9 pimiento-stuffed olives, sliced

1/4 cup dry white wine

2 tablespoons capers, drained

1 or 2 jalapeño chili peppers, seeded and chopped, to taste

1/2 teaspoon sugar

Snipped fresh parsley for garnish

1. Rinse fish, pat dry and cut into 6 serving pieces. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

2. For the sauce, heat the oil in a large skillet. Cook the onion and garlic until the onion is tender and translucent, 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes, olives, wine, capers, chilies, and sugar. Bring to a boil. Add the fish. Return to a boil; reduce to a simmer. Cover and cook until fish is just opaque, 6 to 8 minutes.

3. Use a slotted spatula to transfer fish to a serving platter. Cover and keep warm.

4. Return sauce to a boil and reduce to about 2 cups, about 5 minutes. Spoon sauce over fish. Garnish with parsley. Serve hot.

Per serving: 174 calories, 24 grams protein, 7 grams carbohydrates, 1 gram fat, 42 milligrams cholesterol, 260 milligrams sodium, 6 grams dietary fiber.

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