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Spicy Snapper with Tomatoes and Olives

Pickled jalapeños (jalapeños en escabeche) give this Mexican dish a piquant chili flavor. If you want a result that is less spicy, use whole pickled jalapeño chilies and don’t chop them. If you prefer fresh jalapeños, cut them in half lengthwise and put them in the dish to begin cooking along with the onion.

Ingredients:

  • 1 yellow onion, sliced
  • 4 snapper, rockfish or other firm white-fleshed fish fillets, about 1 1/2 lb. total, pin bones removed
  • Salt, to taste
  • 2 limes, halved
  • 1 cup canned crushed tomatoes with juice
  • 6 green olives, pitted and sliced
  • 1 tsp. capers
  • 1 Tbs. chopped pickled jalapeño chilies (see note above)
  • 1 Tbs. coarsely chopped fresh cilantro (optional)

Directions:

Precook the onion and season the fish
Preheat an oven to 400°F. Oil a baking dish just large enough to hold the fish in a single layer. Spread the onion slices evenly in the prepared dish and place in the oven as it preheats to begin cooking the onion.

Place the fish fillets on a plate and season lightly on both sides with salt. Squeeze the limes over the fish.

Cook the fish
Remove the baking dish from the oven and arrange the fillets, skin side down, on the onion. Top evenly with the tomatoes, then scatter the olives, capers and chilies over all. Cover the dish tightly with aluminum foil, return to the oven and cook until the fillets are opaque throughout, about 10 minutes for thin fillets, 12 to 15 minutes for fillets about 1 inch thick. Sprinkle with the cilantro and serve immediately. Serves 4.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Food Made Fast Series, Seafood, by Jay Harlow (Oxmoor House, 2007).