Stuffed Snapper Veracruz

  • Level: Intermediate
  • Total: 1 hr 20 min
  • Active: 1 hr 5 min
  • Yield: 4 to 6 servings
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Ingredients

1/4 cup olive oil

1/2 medium red onion, julienned

1/2 cup julienned green bell pepper, seeded and membrane removed

1/2 cup julienned red bell pepper, seeded and membrane removed

1 jalapeno, seeded and minced

1/4 cup sliced green olives

1 tablespoon drained brined capers

3 cloves garlic, finely sliced

2 tablespoons tomato paste

1/4 cup dry red wine

2 cups fire-roasted diced tomatoes

3 teaspoons chopped fresh oregano 

Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper

One 3-pound pink snapper, whole, scaled, gutted

Julienned bell peppers and jicama, for garnish

1/4 cup vermouth

Crispy tortilla strips, for garnish

Lime wedges, for garnish

Mexican beers, cold, for serving

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Add half of the oil to a large saucepan or skillet over medium heat. Once hot, cook the onions, bell peppers, jalapeno, olives and capers until just softened, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, and sweat until just aromatic, about a minute. Stir in the tomato paste and deglaze with the red wine. Stir in the tomatoes and bring the pan to medium-high heat. Reduce until the liquid is almost evaporated, about 7 minutes. Fold in the oregano, mixing well. Continue cooking until the stuffing is a thick, pulpy consistency, about 3 minutes more. Remove from the heat. 
  3. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer to a bowl and set aside to cool.
  4. Score both sides of the fish. Stuff the cavity of the fish, using about half of the stuffing; set the remaining stuffing aside. Secure with three evenly spaced lengths of kitchen twine. 
  5. Bring the remaining oil to medium-high heat in a large, nonstick skillet. Sprinkle the fish on both sides, and place in the skillet once the oil begins to smoke lightly. Sear until the skin browns on the bottom, 3 to 4 minutes. Using a fish spatula, flip the fish gently, and then place the whole skillet onto the middle rack of the oven. Bake until the fish is golden brown, the flesh flakes easily and the stuffing is hot throughout, 12 to 15 minutes. Remove from the skillet and place onto platter with the julienned bell peppers and jicama, if desired. 
  6. Put the skillet back over medium-high heat and add the remaining stuffing. Deglaze the pan with the vermouth and stir to combine. Cook for about 1 minute. Remove the kitchen twine from the fish. Garnish the fish with the crispy tortilla strips, the stuffing and a squeeze of lime juice.
  7. To serve: Transfer portions to plates. Garnish with lime wedges and serve with a nice, cold Mexican beer.
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