This Mexican Fish is a Veracruzana style fish made with a whole red snapper, lime juice, tomatoes, onion, bell pepper, and is baked to perfection.
I don’t understand how I have spent most of my life cooking fish in fillets. If you were to ask any chef, the best way to make a fish is whole. The meat is juicier, more tender and full of flavor because of the bones. Many may think cooking a whole fish is intimidating, but it is no easier than baking in fillets. You can tell if the fish is fresh by the smell - a fish should NOT smell fishy! It should smell clean and of the ocean. Check the eyes as well. The eyes should be clear, not cloudy. The gills should be bright red or orange, not brown. The fish should feel firm, and should not dent when you poke it. Ask them to gut, clean, scale and butterfly the fish before buying.
- Red Snapper
- Lime juice
- Olive oil
- Bell pepper
- Fire roasted tomatoes
See recipe card for quantities.
Preheat the oven to 425°F.
Open the butterflied snapper and season the inside and outside with salt. Make 5 parallel 3-inch long slashes on each side of the snapper, slicing almost through the bone. Stuff the inside of the fish with parsley. Add the snapper on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
In a medium skillet on medium heat, add the oil and wait for it to shimmer. Add the onion, garlic and bell pepper and cook, stirring, until the onion is soft, about 3-5 minutes. Add the oregano and tomatoes and bring to a boil. Let it cook for about 5-7 minutes. Squeeze the lime juice into it and give it a nice stir.
Pour the sauce over the fish and place the whole fish in the oven. Bake, basting osten with the sauce, about 20-30 minutes, until the fish flakes with a fork and the flesh is opaque in the center. Voila - you have a Mexican Fish style recipe!
Hint: Don’t be shy to ask them to inspect the fish yourself before buying. Remember: it shouldn’t smell fishy, the eyes should be clear and the gills should be red or orange.
- Fish: Go to your local fish market and ask the fish monger what is their freshest fish they have. I used red snapper for this recipe, but you could use a whole weakfish or seabass. Then, ask them to clean, scale, and butterfly the fish for you. They less steps you need to do, the better.
- Lime: I love using lime juice for this recipe. You can alternatively use lemon instead if that is all you have on hand.
- Oil: I love using olive oil, but you could use vegetable oil, avocado oil, or sunflower oil.
- Onion: I love using yellow onion for this, although you can use white or red onion as well.
- Garlic: I love using a ton of garlic for this recipe. The more the better! Use fresh garlic for best results.
- Bell pepper: The color of the bell pepper doesn’t matter. I used a yellow bell pepper, but you can use red or green.
- Oregano: If you happen to have Mexican oregano, that is perfect for this recipe. If not, use regular oregano.
- Tomatoes: I love using fire-roasted tomatoes in a can for this, but if you only have regular diced tomato that works too.
Cooking is a chance to be creative! Have fun with it and feel free to make your own variation.
- Spicy - add chili pepper flakes while cooking to imbue heat into the dish.
- Deluxe - serve with rice and black beans.
- Kid friendly - add meat onto a warm tortilla and top with your favorite toppings.
Check out this Smoked Fish Dip if you are feeling wild!
Equipment can have a big impact on how a recipe turns out. Stone bakeware takes longer to heat up than metal pans, and also retain heat for longer, which could make the recipe more watery, or burnt on the outsides.
I love using my Caraway pots, pans and baking sheets for best quality. Get yourself a discount by clicking here!
This will be good in the refrigerator for 2-3 days.
This Mexican Fish don't stand up well to freezing.
Don’t be shy to ask them to inspect the fish yourself before buying. Remember: it shouldn’t smell fishy, the eyes should be clear and the gills should be red or orange.Print
- Cook to a minimum temperature of 165 °F (74 °C)
- Do not use the same utensils on cooked food, that previously touched raw meat
- Wash hands after touching raw meat
- Don't leave food sitting out at room temperature for extended periods
- Never leave cooking food unattended
- Use oils with high smoking point to avoid harmful compounds
- Always have good ventilation when using a gas stove