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Mexican fish dish delivers sweet heat
Olives, capers, peppers and cinnamon add a sweet touch and some heat to this typical dish from Veracruz, Mexico. I recently tasted this dish at a Mexican food fiesta at the Intercontinental Hotel in Doral, Fla. Chefs Darren Lee and Deivid Rojas shared their recipe with me. I've adapted it for this quick and easy taste of Mexico.
Snapper is the most popular fish in Veracruz, but any type of white fish fillet can be used.
The recipe calls for banana peppers (chilies gueros) in vinegar. These are long yellow/white peppers. You can substitute any type of pickled chili. The heat is up to you. Or you can use diced jalapeño peppers.
Complete the meal with a quick side dish made by preparing microwavable rice according to package instructions. Measure 1-1⁄2 cups and set aside the rest for another use. Add 2 teaspoons olive oil and salt and pepper, to taste, and fluff with a fork
Tips: Flounder, tilapia. catfish or other white fish fillet can be used. If using a thicker fillet, increase the cooking time, counting eight minutes per inch of thickness.
2 teaspoons olive oil, divided use
3⁄4 pound snapper fillets
1-1⁄2 cups sliced onion
3⁄4 cup sliced green bell pepper
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1⁄2 cup sliced black or green olives
1 tablespoon capers
1 large tomato, cut into cubes (about 1-1⁄2 cups)
1⁄4 cup sliced banana peppers in vinegar (or other pickled peppers)
1⁄8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Heat 1 teaspoon oil in a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the fish and sauté two minutes; turn and sauté two minutes for a 1⁄2-inch fillet. Remove fish to a plate and add the second teaspoon oil to the skillet.
Add the onion and sauté two minutes. Add the green bell pepper, garlic, olives, capers, tomato, banana pepper and cinnamon. Add 2 tablespoons of the vinegar from the banana peppers. Sauté for five minutes.
Return fish to skillet and sauté another minute. Serve fish with vegetables spooned on top. Makes two servings.