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Snapper Veracruz delivers sweet heat, flavors of Mexico

Snapper Veracruz with quick rice delivers sweet heat - how much heat is up to you.

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 Doral Intercontinental Hotel in Miami. 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 (chiles gueros) in vinegar. These are long yellow/white peppers. You can substitute any type of pickled chile. 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.

Helpful hints: Flounder, tilapia, catfish or other white fish fillet can be used. If using a thicker fillet, increase the cooking time, counting 8 minutes per inch of thickness.

Snapper Veracruz

Makes: 2 servings.

• 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

• 3/4 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 one teaspoon oil in a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the fish and saute 2 minutes, turn and saute 2 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 saute 2 minutes. Add the green bell pepper, garlic, olives, capers, tomato, banana pepper and cinnamon. Add 2 tablespoons of the vinegar from the banana peppers. Saute for 5 minutes. Return fish to skillet and saute another minute. Serve fish with vegetables spooned on top.

Per serving: 315 calories (30 percent from fat), 10.6 g fat (1.7 g saturated, 6.3 g monounsaturated), 60 mg cholesterol, 38.0 g protein, 18.1 g carbohydrates, 5.2 g fiber, 639 mg sodium.

Linda Gassenheimer's latest book is "The Flavors of the Florida Keys." Her website is or follow her on Twitter @lgassenheimer

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