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Spiced Fish Hash from Veracruz (Minilla)

Photo by Joaquin Martinez

For some strange reason until very recently people did not associate fish dishes with Mexican food. Nothing could be further from the truth. Except for the north,  the whole country is surrounded by water but it is in Veracruz where I found the greatest variety of seafood and seafood dishes such as this vibrantly seasoned fish hash called minilla.

Makes 6 – 8 servings as appetizer or first course

2 pounds fish fillets (see above), skin left on, any pin bones removed with tweezers (I used branzino which is thin when filleted

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 large white onion, finely chopped

1 large ripe tomato (or 2 medium-sized; about 1/2 pound), finely chopped

1 cup Italian parsley leaves, chopped

1 cup fresh mint leaves, chopped

2 large sprigs of fresh thyme, chopped

1/2 cup pimiento-stuffed green olives, finely chopped

1/2 cup pickled red or green jalapeño chiles, seeded and finely chopped

 

For the Filling:

In a large skillet, heat the oils to rippling over medium-high heat.  Add the chopped onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until it is translucent, about 3 minutes.

Add the tomato, parsley, mint, thyme, and remaining 4 bay leaves.  Reduce the heat to medium and cook, stirring frequently, until most of the moisture is evaporated. Lay the fish fillets, skin side up,in teh sauce,  lower heat, and cook very gently , uncovered, just until the fish turns opaque, about 2 1/2  to 3 minutes on each side. Let cool in the juices and shred, discarding the skin.  Stir in the chopped olives, jalapeños; cook for another 5 minutes to marry the flavors.