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Salsa Veracruzana

Oh, I know this looks fancy, but it’s really one of those things that you can throw together (chopping time included) in less than half an hour. This little salsa is a Mexican classic, and it’s a great recipe to have in your back pocket for those times when you want to serve fish, but would like to give it a little pizazz – something we all could use a little more of, if you ask me.

Salsa Veracruzana, a Mexican salsa with Spanish roots, is your solution. Deceptively easy, this works with whatever kind of fish you’ve got on hand, and the fish can be added and cooked on the stovetop or in the oven. Either way, you’re looking at about 10 minutes to chop, 10 minutes to cook the sauce, and another 10 to cook the fish in the sauce. Facile!

When I saw this dish on the menu in the restaurant at La Casona in Mexico City, I asked the chef, Frederico Olss, if he’d share his recipe and show me how to make it,  so I could share it with all of y’all. He was happy to oblige, and I’m so glad that he did.

Sometimes you’ll see raisins or prunes added to this salsa, too, which adds a nice sweetness, and gives a subtle contrast to the rest of the flavors here, and if you’ve got some hanging around, you just might want to toss some in, just for fun. Because if it’s not gonna be fun, why cook?

Enjoy the show.

Salsa Veracruzana


½ medium white onion, sliced thin

1 whole red bell pepper, sliced thin

2 Roma tomatoes

2 cloves garlic (appx 1 teaspoon)

1 Bay leaf

1 teaspoon thyme

1 cup white wine (dry)

4-5 whole green olives, pitted

6-8 capers

1 banana pepper (whole)

1 tablespoon tomato puree


Mahi-Mahi, Red Snapper or any other white fish that’s in season



1. In a medium skillet drizzle a bit of olive oil and add the onion. Turn heat on medium-high.

2. When onion becomes translucent, about 5 minutes, add the garlic. Cook for a minute or two and add the red bell pepper.

3. Cook until pepper becomes soft, about 3 to 5 minutes.

4. Now add: tomatoes and tomato puree, white wine, Bay leaf, and thyme.

5. Cook until tomatoes begin to turn orange, then turn heat to medium-low. 
Slide fish into the sauce and add the olives, capers, and banana peppers. Let cook until fish is done, about 5-7 minutes, depending on the fish and the thickness. (You may also cook the fish in a 350-degree oven for the same amount of time.)