Pescado a la Veracruzana

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Pescado a la Veracruzana is an old dish originating (naturally) on the Mexican coast. Básico owner Bryan Lewis’ mother, Leslie, who perfected her

recipe over the years, urged him to add it to the menu. Once he served it to the staff and they all responded, “We have to have this on the menu!”… well, the rest is history.

The new initiate’s first reaction to Pesacdo a la Veracruzana is often, “This isn’t Mexican, it looks Italian!” While the sauce features standard Mexican ingredients, such as tomatoes and chiles, the appearance of plump golden raisins, capers, and green olives always raises an eyebrow, but then lots and lots of smiles at first taste.

The recipe starts simply with a good firm-fleshed white fish, such as local redfish, generously salted and peppered on both sides and pan seared in olive oil.

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Once the fish is near finished cooking, the pan is deglazed with a bit of water, and the Veracruzana sauce (prepared ahead of time)is spooned around the fish to warm. Meanwhile, prepared white rice mounded on a warmed plate awaits to serve as an edible foundation for the dish.

Once the sauce reaches temperature, the fish is laid gently on the rice, topped by the sauce, and garnished with a flourish of microgreens.

Bursting with rich color, the finished plate is as beautiful to the eye as it is succulent to the palate. The heat of the seared pepper on the fish and chile in the sauce gains extra nuance from the metallic bite of the green olive and piquancy of capers, and then the mild sweetness of the raisins serves to smooth sharp edges. The sauce enhances, never eclipses, the sweetness of the redfish, whose firm texture holds up well with the hearty sauce. Fresh, straightforward, clean–Pescado a la Veracruzana epitomizes Básico’s philosophy.

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