Veracruz-style Fish (Pescado a la Verzcruzana)

Ingredients

2 garlic cloves, plus 6 garlic cloves, chopped, extra
2 Tbsp white vinegar
4 rockfish fillets
⅓ cup olive oil
1 ½ cups chopped white onion
½ cup sliced jalapeño, seeds removed
4 cups diced tomato
salt, to taste
2 bay leaves
5-6 sprigs thyme
½ cup pickled jalapeños (2 Tbsp pickling liquid reserved)
1 cup green olives (2 Tbsp brine reserved)
½ cup capers, drained
steamed white rice, warmed tortillas, to serve

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Blend the 2 whole garlic cloves and the white vinegar until fine. Reserve.
  3. In a medium sauté pan, heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil over medium-high heat. Season the fish fillets on both sides with salt and black pepper, to taste. Sauté the fillets until they are opaque and just cooked through, about 2 minutes per side. Transfer the fish to a glass baking dish where they fit snugly. Add the bay leaves and the thyme and set aside.
  4. Meanwhile, heat a saucepan over medium. Add the olive oil and onion and cook gently for 5 minutes or until softened. Add the extra garlic and continue cooking, stirring frequently, for 2 minutes. Add the jalapeño strips and continue cooking for a further 5 minutes or until softened.
  5. Add the garlic vinegar. Stir through, then add the diced tomato and season the mixture with salt. Continue cooking for 10 minutes, stirring frequently.
  6. Pour the tomato mixture over the fish, then add the pickled jalapeños, capers, olives and reserved olive brine. Stir gently into the sauce taking care not to break up the fish. Place into the oven and continue cooking for 10 minutes or until the tomato is softened though.
  7. To serve, gently lift the fish onto a platter, then spoon the sauce over. Serve with steamed white rice and warmed tortillas.