Striped Bass Veracruz-Style

TOTAL TIME: 2 hr 20 min
Prep: 15 min
Inactive Prep: 1 hr
Cook: 1 hr 5 min
 
YIELD: 6 servings
LEVEL: Intermediate

ingredients

  • 1 (4 to 4 1/2-pound) whole striped bass, cleaned and scaled, with tail and head on
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 1/4 teaspoons salt
  • 1/3 cup lime juice
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, thinly sliced
  • 6 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 4 pounds ripe tomatoes, peeled and coarsely chopped
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon dried Mexican oregano, crumbled
  • 1 1/2 cups pitted green olives, halved
  • 1/4 cup capers, drained
  • 1/3 to 1/2 cup pickled jalapeno peppers, stemmed, seeded and sliced (preferably a Mexican brand)
  • Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling
  • Chopped parsley leaves, for garnishing
  • Mexican-style White Rice, for serving, recipe follows
recipe tools

Directions

Using a sharp knife, make several deep diagonal slits into the flesh of the fish on both sides. Place the fish in a non-reactive baking dish and rub well on both sides with 1 tablespoon of the salt and the lime juice. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 to 2 hours.

In a large saucepan, heat the oil and, when hot, add the onions and cook, stirring, until beginning to caramelize, about 6 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute, stirring. Increase the heat to medium-high and add the tomatoes, bay leaves, oregano, olives, capers, and jalapenos and cook, stirring frequently, until tomatoes have softened, released their liquids and the sauce thickens and reduces somewhat, about 15 minutes. Season with the remaining 1 1/4 teaspoons of salt and keep warm until you are ready to cook the fish.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Lightly oil a roasting pan or large, deep casserole dish and place the fish in the pan. Pour the hot tomato sauce over the fish and drizzle with olive oil. Bake the fish, uncovered, until the flesh flakes easily, 50 to 55 minutes. Carefully transfer the fish to a serving platter and, using a sharp knife and 2 spatulas, separate the fillets from the bones and serve, with spoonfuls of sauce ladled over the top. Garnish with a sprinkling of chopped parsley and serve with Mexican-style white rice.
2 tablespoons vegetable oil or olive oil
1 1/2 cups long-grain white rice
1/2 cup finely chopped white onions
1 large or 2 small cloves garlic, minced
2 1/2 cups chicken stock or low-sodium canned chicken broth
1 teaspoon salt, or to taste

Heat the oil in a medium saucepan and, when hot, add the rice and onions and cook, stirring frequently, until the rice is opaque and the onion is soft, 4 to 6 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the chicken stock and salt and stir well to combine. Bring to a simmer, cover, and reduce heat to low. Cook, undisturbed, for 20 minutes. Remove from the heat and allow rice to sit for 10 to 15 minutes, undisturbed, before serving. Fluff with a fork and serve.

Yield: 6 servings
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