I developed this healthy baked fish Veracruz recipe after I ate halibut Veracruz at a restaurant and loved it. It's easy to make in just 30 minutes. I have been looking for a healthy fish recipe that tastes good.
I haven't seen very many recipes for tilapia in the past that I thought I could actually make and that I would want to eat. What is it that's so intimidating about cooking fish?
I always have a bunch of frozen, individually-wrapped fish fillets in my fridge from Costco because my husband and son like to eat it plain with just some olive oil and lemon and baked in the oven but sorry - there's no way I'm eating plain, frozen fish with just lemon squeezed over the top. Just not going to happen...
But I like to order fish when we go out so I thought of my favorite restaurant fish dish and tried to copy it. It's Halibut Veracruz from Los Hermanos restaurant in Provo and Orem, Utah.
My husband and I have been going to that restaurant since we first started dating 25 years ago (has it really been that long?). All but one of my children loves this, which is a success in my opinion. It's become a staple in our house and I hope it will be popular in your house too.
- Tilapia fillets - any other white fish will work. I like it with halibut but generally opt for tilapia since it is more affordable and my teenage son eats a ton of fish. If you want to use frozen fish, as I sometimes do, then I recommend you use the oven-baked method.
It will a little take longer to cook than fresh, but you can just ignore it while it's baking, so that may be a good option for you. If you have fresh and/or unthawed fish, I think that it is much quicker and easier to use the skillet method. That way, the fish gets a really nice, beautiful golden color on top.
- Tomatoes - fresh is always best, especially from the garden. However, I really like to use Italian-style crushed tomatoes (San Marzano) for this dish. They are much more concentrated and rich in flavor. They are not watery at all so you do not need to cook them as long because you don't need to reduce any liquid.
Plus, It can really be made in about 15 minutes if you use canned Italian-style crushed tomatoes.
- Onion - Any type will work here. I've even tried sweet and loved it.
- Anaheim Chili - You can leave this out if you don't want the heat but they aren't all that hot. The best substitutes are green bell peppers or poblano peppers.
- Green Olives - We are personally not a huge fan of these in our family and usually leave them out so I won't judge if you want to do the same.
- Capers - I often leave these out too, but if you leave out both the green olives and capers, you should think about replacing some of the salty sourness with either some extra lime juice, maybe some anchovies or green peppercorns - or I actually enjoy a few artichoke hearts thrown in.
How to serve
If you want to make it a complete meal and get some more veggies in the dish, I love to add zucchini or summer squash in the dish. When I do that and want to eat Paleo, I love it with some cauliflower steamed in my Instant Pot .
If you can eat rice, then it goes well with this. Use white or brown rice, or even quinoa or cauliflower "rice."Print
I'm finally not afraid of cooking fish! This fish recipe turns out moist and the sauce hides the fishy flavor and is so easy and you can even use frozen fish.
- 2 Tbl Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 6 Tilapia Fillets (or other white fish)
- Real Salt
- 1 Yellow Onion (thinly sliced)
- 1 Anaheim Chili (thinly sliced)
- 3 cloves Garlic (thinly sliced)
- 2 Leaves Bay leaves
- ½ tsp Oregano (chopped)
- 2 Cups Fresh Tomatoes or 1 15 oz. can San Marzano Italian-style crushed tomatoes
- ¼ Cup Green Olives
- 2 Tbl Capers
- Lime (for serving)
- Heat the oil in a large skillet to medium/high.
- Salt and pepper both sides of the fish, pressing it in lightly with your fingertips.
- Add the fish to the hot pan and let cook until slightly golden brown on the bottom, 3-4 minutes.
- Turn the fish carefully and cook for another 2 minutes on the other side.
- Remove the fish and place carefully on a plate.
- Add the onion and chili to the pan and saute for 2-3 minutes, or until the onion starts to soften.
- Add the garlic and saute for another 30 seconds.
- Add in the bay leaves, oregano, crushed tomatoes, green olives, and capers.
- Bring to a simmer and let cook until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes.
- Add the fish back into the pan and simmer for another 3-4 minutes, until fish is fully cooked. Remove bay leaves.
- Serve with lime wedges for squeezing on top of the fish.
Oven Baked Method
- Preheat the oven at 350 F.
- Put oil in the bottom of a 9x13 baking pan.
- Lay the fish fillets in the pan (I usually use frozen for this method).
- Top with the rest of the ingredients, except the lime.
- Bake until the fish flakes easily with a fork, usually between 20-30 minutes, depending on your oven.
Keywords: Moist, Easy, Flavorful