It was date night last night. I hadn’t been to the store in a couple of days so on my way out the door I asked my husband what he wanted to eat. To my surprise he said “How about some fish.” We don’t eat a lot of fish. Being in the middle of the US good fresh fish is hard to come by and I think the frozen stuff is, for the most part pretty yucky. But I thought that fish sounded good for a change and with any luck maybe they will have something good at the store. Sure enough it was a good day, as I approached the seafood counter they had fresh snapper, one of my favorites. I knew immediately what I was going to fix, Snapper Vera Cruz.
The first time I had this was over 25 years ago at a wonderful Mexican restaurant in Aspen. I wasn’t sure what it was but the waiter promised me that it was good and he was right. I loved it. Simple grilled fish with a wonderful spicy, tangy sauce. It was heavenly.
The first time I found tomatillo’s in the grocery store I knew I had to try to recreate it. It’s really pretty simple, tomatillos, onion, jalapenos, cilantro, and a little lime juice. Don’t let the tomatillos scare you, they’re a little bit weird, sort of like a green tomato but not quite the same. You have to peel the paper skin off and wash off the sticky residue, then just chop them up. You do have to cook them though, unlike a tomato you can’t eat them raw or at least I wouldn’t want to.
Snapper Vera Cruz, some black beans and a crisp green salad. Pair that with a nice bottle of white wine and you have a prefect “Date Night” dinner.
Snapper Vera Cruz
Yield 2 Servings
For the sauce:
3-4 tomitillos diced (about 1 1/2 cups)
1/4 cup chopped red onion
1 jalapeno pepper minced
1 clove garlic minced
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
1 t salt
1 t honey
1 T olive oil
Juice from one lime
For the fish:
1 snapper filet (about 3/4 lb)
Peel the paper like outer layer from the tomatillos and rinse off the sticky residue, then chop in about in about a 1/4" dice. Chop up the red onion. Seed and de-vien the jalapeno pepper or it will be so hot it will set your mouth on fire. Jalapenos can be tricky, some are super hot while others are rather mild and you just never know which one your going to get, so I recommend that you take a small taste of the one your using and if it's supper hot use only half of it. Mince the clove of garlic. Add all of this to a small sauce pan with the olive oil, lime juice and salt and simmer for about 25 minutes. The tomatillios will break down and it will become saucy. When it has simmered for about 25 minutes add the honey and fresh cilantro. I make the sauce first and let it simmer while I get the fish ready to grill, it can sit on the stove ready for a quick reheat just before serving.
Season the fish with Lemon Pepper and grill for 5 minutes per side. Serve the fish with a generous helping of the Vera Cruz sauce on top.
You can use any kind of mild white flaky fish for this dish. I just happen to really like snapper.