Saturday, March 25, 2006

Tilapia Veracruz

In the Orthodox Church, the Annunciation is what is called a "fish, wine and oil" day. What this means is that the course of the fast (during which we abstain from all flesh meats, including fish, dairy products, and eggs) is eased so that we can celebrate this major feast of the Theotokos, so fish, wine and oil are permitted, even encouraged. This is also my patronal feast day, so I decided this year that I would bring a fish dish to share at fellowship after Liturgy today. About two months ago, our little church had a big banquet to celebrate our subdeacon Vasilly's ordination to the diaconate, and one of the dishes that I made was Tilapia Veracruz - for 50! (I also made Boeuf Bourgignonne for 90, but that's another post, AFTER Pascha.) Everyone who tried the fish loved it, and I'm making it again today, about 20 servings worth.

I doubt that this dish originated in Veracruz, and I doubt that its even very authentic. The only thing that I can vouch for is that the salsa is DEEEEEEELICIOUS! I've made the salsa alone as a dip a number of times since the banquet and we've loved it every time. This is so simple and easy and quick that you can even make it in the morning before church, just like I'm doing now!

Tilapia Veracruz

1 15 oz can diced tomatoes and jalapenos in juice
1 medium onion, chopped fine
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbs dry sherry
2 Tbs fresh lime juice
1/3 C sliced green olives
1/3 C sliced black olives
1/4 to 1/2 C chopped cilantro
2 Tbs capers (optional)
1 jalapeno, minced (optional - can use more or less)
3 -4 lbs firm white fish filets, such as tilapia

Preheat the oven to 450F. Dump everything except the fish together in a bowl and mix well. Lightly oil the bottom and sides of a 9 x 13 pyrex baking dish. Lay the fish fillets over the bottom, overlapping them so that you can fit them all in one even layer. Spread the salsa evenly over the top. Bake uncovered for 20 minutes at 450, or until the fish is cooked.

Notes: If you don't have a can of tomatoes with jalapenos, or if you prefer your food very mild, use plain tomatoes - you can always add the minced jalapeno yourself if you want. I always have capers in my house because I love them and cook with them all time, and they add a wonderful flavor to the salsa, but they are not necessary. If you choose to not use capers, add an equal amount of green olives to add just the right amount of piquancy. I find that minced green olives can substitute for capers in some recipes. This salsa is so yummy, that you can cook pretty much anything in it - try chicken or pork, in particular.

Ill upload a photo this afternoon. - gotta get to church right now - cant' be late!

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