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Pan-seared Red Snapper in Vera cruz style

Pan Seared Red Snapper In Vera Cruz Style

Before the week ends , here is my another fish recipe that I have promised to you – Red Snapper in VeraCruz style. The beautiful coastal city of Veracruz bordering along the Gulf of Mexico is known for its distinct food flavours. Any food that is served a la Veracruz style must be characterized by light tomato based sauce without chile and prepared with olives and capers. Like every coastal cities, the abundance of fresh seafood also gets reflects in Veracruz food menus and white fish dishes are the most popular ones here. Red snapper in Veracruz style is hugely popular and the best one from this coastal city.


red snapper fish

Years back, when for the first time I saw it, the pink color fish,  lightly grilled (I bet those appetizing grilled marks are highly potent) with Asian sauces and plated with loads of veggies on side, I was charmed by its beauty. For the next few minutes I was staring at it rather than eating or forking it. My new husband was highly perplexed, it was our first dining out together on some beach at Goa.

From that day to the present, I love (adore might be a better word) the red snapper. It has become my habit of holding it in my hand for few minutes before subjecting it to heat. The flesh is firm, very mild taste and though I have swamped it initially with loads of Indian spices, but over the years I have realized, that this fish craves for just few spices so that its mild taste should not be overwhelmed by the other ingredients.

If there is any fish that is more appropriate for simple grilling, then it is this. With salt and pepper, few dashes of olive oil, lemon and mild rub of Asian spices snapper will taste better than being curried in handful of spices.

red snapper fish recipe

At times when we need to make a complete meal out of snapper, rice or bread comes into being. Grilled fishes does not paired that well with rice, hence we have to look out for some light sauce. This red snapper in Vera Cruz style perfectly fit the bill.  This is perhaps the most celebrated dish from coastal Mexico, the sauce is light with delicate flavour. The one that I had at Florida, was grilled and then doused with a similar sauce. Fish was fresh and it tasted extremely good. I tried to recreate the same experience, only this time I pan-seared it lightly for few minutes.

This recipe has been adapted from the magazine Atkins – Best recipes 2005.

Pan-seared Red Snapper in Vera cruz style
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Pan seared red snapper in vera cruz style. The sauce is light with delicate flavour and capers brings out the distinct regional flavour.
Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: Mexican
Serves: 4
  • Red snapper (steak cut) : 4 piece
  • Vidalia onion : 1 medium chopped
  • Extra virgin olive oil : ¼ cup
  • Garlic cloves (minced) : 3
  • Chopped tomatoes (peeled) : 1 cup
  • Jalapeno (sliced) : 2-3
  • Green olives : 6-8
  • Capers : 2 tbsp (drained)
  • Fresh cilantro (chopped) : 4 tbsp
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Ground cumin (optional) : 1 tsp
  1. Wash and pat dry the fish with paper.
  2. Rub salt and pepper over it.
  3. Warm the olive oil in the pan and lightly seared the fish fillet till it changes color.
  4. Drain the fish fillet on kitchen towel.
  5. Add more oil if requires, and saute the chopped onions and cook till it becomes soft.
  6. Add garlic and cook for 1 minute.
  7. Stir in tomatoes, cumin, jalapeno and 2 tablespoon of cilantro.
  8. Cook until sauce thickens slightly around 10 minutes.
  9. Place the fish back in the pan, coat it well with the sauce.
  10. Top it with olives and capers, close the lid and cook till done.
  11. Serve the red snapper over bed of rice and top it with more fresh cilantro.

If you are cooking the whole fish, then grilling would be an ideal choice. Later you can drizzle the sauce over it. And if you have just fillet, without skin, go directly for baking, and if the fish is cut into steak size with skin on, then pan-searing it for few minutes will be good. But use only fresh fish please . The recipe calls for capers, trust me they are indispensable here. Go and grab a small bottle of it from your grocer, if it is not regular in your pantry.

How do you cook your snapper ?

Do check this out too – Tilapia In Thai Mango Sauce and

Baja Chili Fish Naan Tacos

Happy noshing and a good weekend !



  • Reply
    Kumar's Kitchen
    July 22, 2013 at 8:23 am

    Congratulations!!! you are absolutely worth it…all the best
    fish looks amazingly bright,nothing fishy about this 🙂

  • Reply
    July 28, 2013 at 9:38 pm

    Excellent job, looks beautiful

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