White fish fillets are very popular since they are low in fat and have a mild flavor; they also cook very quickly. There is virtually no waste - most come without skin and the only thing to trim on some varieties is a small dark portion on the underside - almost the entire fillet is useable. Halibut and cod are more expensive; tilapia, catfish, and sole are generally cheap. Depending on the type of fish used, this delicious Spicy Veracruz-Style Fish Bake can be very budget friendly as well as mouth-watering.
Think pickled jalapenos are just for nachos? Think again. They give the sauce a unique flavor and add the perfect amount of fire. While leaving them in slices (as in the picture) is more attractive, finely chopping them allows the flavors to be evenly distributed throughout the sauce. The same goes for the olives; use sliced salad olives for better distribution.
Spicy Veracruz-Style Fish Bake can be prepared in less than 30 minutes, so it’s a great dish to serve on a weeknight. It is special enough, however to serve guests, and can be made several hours ahead (to step 13) and refrigerated. If made ahead and refrigerated, add about 15 extra minutes baking time.
1 1/2 pounds white fish fillets, skin removed, cut into 4 pieces
1 lime, halved
1/2 teaspoon coarse sea salt, or kosher salt
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 clove garlic, finely minced
1 large red onion, halved and sliced
1 red bell pepper, halved and sliced
1 14 oz. can chopped tomato
1/2 cup sliced green olives, or leave whole
1 tablespoon capers, rinsed
1 tablespoon pickled jalapenos, chopped
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 bay leaf
Fresh cilantro, for garnish
- Preheat the oven to 375°.
- Lay the fish fillets on a plate and squeeze half of the lime over the top; press half of the salt into the fish fillets.
- Turn them over and repeat.
- Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a large skillet; brown the fish fillets over high heat 1 minute.
- Turn and brown the other side.
- Transfer the fillets to a large shallow baking dish.
- Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet.
- Add the red onion and cook until translucent, stirring often.
- Add the garlic and stir for a minute or two; stir in the red pepper, garlic, tomatoes, and 3/4 cup water.
- Bring the mixture to a boil, turn down to a simmer.
- Add the olives, capers, jalapenos, cayenne pepper, and bay leaf.
- Let the mixture cook, uncovered, until the vegetables are tender, about 10 minutes.
- Pour the mixture over the browned fish fillets.
- Bake in the preheated oven 10-15 minutes or until the fish is just cooked through; the time will vary depending on the thickness of the fish.
- Garnish with cilantro
Amount Per Serving
Calories 415 Calories from Fat 146
Percent Total Calories From: Fat 35% Protein 50% Carb. 15%
Nutrient Amount per Serving
Total Fat 16 g
Saturated Fat 2 g
Cholesterol 120 mg
Sodium 931 mg
Total Carbohydrate 15 g
Dietary Fiber 2 g
Sugars 0 g
Protein 52 g
Vitamin A 38% Vitamin C 123% Calcium 0% Iron 14%