Huachanango veracruzana (red snapper, veracruz)

Yield: 1 Servings

Measure Ingredient
3 pounds Red snapper, whole
1 teaspoon Salt, or to taste
2 tablespoons Lime juice
2 pounds Fresh thyme leaves, skinned, seeded, and roughly chopped
¼ cup Olive oil
1 medium Onion (about 6 oz), finely sliced
2 \N Cloves garlic, peeled and sliced
1 large Bay leaf
¼ teaspoon Oregano
12 \N Green olives, pitted, cut into halves
3 tablespoons Large capers
2 \N Chiles jalepenos en escabeche, cut into strips
½ teaspoon Salt, or to taste
3 tablespoons Olive oil

This is a very colorful dish from Veracruz -- a large red snapper covered with a well-flavored tomato sauce. As I am always saying of Mexican dishes, there are many versions of this recipe. I have chosen what I think to be the best example and the most delicious of all those that I have tried. The more commercial way of serving huachanango a la Veracruzana is to fry the filleted fish and serve it covered with the sauce, which has been cooked separately. In Veracruz some of my friends serve it as a casserole, with layers of the filleted fish and the sauce cooked together.

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Have the fish cleaned, leaving the head and tail on. Prick the fish on both sides with a coarse-tined fork, rub in the salt and lime juice, and set it aside in an oven proof serving dish to season for about 2 hours. In a large skillet, heat ¼ cup oil and fry the onion and garlic, without browning, until they are soft. Add the tomatoes, with the rest of the ingredients to the pan and cook the sauce over a brisk flame until it is well seasoned and some of the juice has evaporated - -, about 10 minutes, Pour the sauce over the fish. Sprinkle the remaining oil over the sauce and bake the fish for about 20 minutes, uncovered, on one side. Turn the fish over and continue baking it until it is just tender-.about 30 minutes. Baste the fish frequently with the sauce during the cooking time.

The sauce should be flavored by the chilies, but should not be too picante.

If you are serving this dish as a main course, then Arroz Blanco (white rice) is a very good accompaniment. If it is to be served alone before the main course, then simply accompany it with hot tortillas. If you have any left over, it is even good cold; the sauce. becomes gelatinous with the juices from the bones and head. The recipe as given is intended as a first course for 6 people. If you serve it as a main course, then it would be better to have a 4 to 4-½ pound fish and increase the sauce.

Recipe by: Diana Kennedy's Cuisines of Mexico, p. 223 Posted to TNT - Prodigy's Recipe Exchange Newsletter by Lou Parris <lbparris@...> on Mar 25, 1997

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