5 Oz of quarter-sliced Roma tomatoes.
1 Pc of large onion, Julienne cut.
1 red + 1 yellow + 1 green bell pepper, Julienne cut.
2 Oz of black olives.
6 pcs of bay leafs.
12 Oz of white wine (Sauvignon-Blanc preferably).
2 soup spoons of herb-oil (for the vegetable cooking).
1 soup spoons of herb-oil “with lots of herbs” (for the fish seasoning and cooking).
Salt – to taste.
· Pepper – to taste.
12 Oz of thick fish fillets, spread in 4 pieces (red snapper, sea-bass, amberjack are suggested).
In high-heated pan place the herb-oil swirl to coat, then add the onion until they get a soft, translucent, caramelized texture.
Proceed to add the tomatoes, cook until they soften and they star to realize a little of their juice.
Add the bell peppers; let them get a bit soft.
Add the white wine, and let sit still, until it starts to boil, make sure all the ingredients are mixed evenly, and let the wine boil for 2-3 minutes to let the alcohol vaporizes.
Take the bay leaves, and crunch them with your fingers as small as possible, and add them to the mixture.
Note: bay leaves have had the wrong oft-repeated belief to have a toxic effect; this is a common mistake lead by the visual, but unrelated similarity with some leafs from the Laurel family such as “mountain laurel or cherry laurel” which are known to be poisonous to humans and livestock, however, these plants are not for sale for culinary consumption in grocery stores.
Add the black olives (you can also add capers), and turn of the heat, put aside the “Veracruz” sauce for a moment.
Note:the key of this sauce is to be juice enough to simmer the fish once is going to be baked in the oven.
Take your fish fillets and lightly season them with the herb-oil (try to put much herbs on seasoning, and do not make it to salty, the fish is going to catch lots of flavor form the sauce), then add salt and pepper for both sides.
In a very hot cast-iron pan the high heat will help the fish to not stick to the pan surface) add 1 soupspoon of the herb oil, swirl to coat and cook your fillets until you reach a light crispy searing for both sides.
In a clay bowl (preferably, you can also use a glass Pyrex bowl) place the seared fish fillets, and then cover with the Veracruz sauce.
Bake in a preheated oven (350 F) for 15 to 20 minutes, the key would be the juice of the sauce would simmer the fish fillet for 10 minutes.