Veracruz-style steelhead trout’s mild butteriness combines beautifully with this tomato-based, slightly tart, slightly sweet and spicy sauce. Magical ingredients like pickled Jalapeños and green olives flavor the fish and combine with tomatoes for a beautiful color pop.
Veracruz-style steelhead is great for company because it looks so impressive coming out of the oven!
What is Veracruz fish?
Veracruz-style fish is all about the sauce: a complex mixture containing garlic, tomatoes, olives, capers and pickled Jalapeño peppers. It can be made spicy if you like, or not. You make the sauce first, simmer the fish in it, then finish the dish in the oven.
Typically snapper is used in this recipe, but other white fish work well to soak up the flavors. I enjoy steelhead, which of course is a pink-colored fish, so much that I just knew it would find a happy companion in the Veracruz sauce. Salmon, also pink and in the same fish family as steelhead, would be great-tasting too!
Steelhead, salmon and sustainability
If you haven’t tried steelhead, it’s important to know that it is a sustainable and healthy farmed fish.
Salmon, which is similar in flavor, has a much lower fatty acid content when farmed, plus it has high PCB’s in its flesh; this is why it’s better to eat wild-caught salmon. However, wild populations of salmon are not sustainable according to the Monterey Bay sustainability studies. Happily, steelhead trout’s fatty acid content remains high when it’s farmed.
I served this fish with jasmine rice and a fresh vegetable ceviche of bell peppers, tomatoes, red onion, cilantro, lime juice and cumin. The leftovers were as good as on the first night’s dinner!
If you try this recipe, please let me know in the comments!
Other fish recipes on A Meal In Mind
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Kitchen items used in this recipe
Overproof skillet. I use my stainless-steel clad saute pan. I can prepare the sauce, add the fish and bake all in one pan. I appreciate the evenness of heating and the surprisingly easy clean-up. My only warning: the handle gets really hot during baking, be sure you have a good set of oven mitts!
Pickled jalapeños, capers. I was able to source these “vinegary” ingredients from Natural Grocers. If you can’t find them, see the brands I used below.
Himalayan or Maldon Salt. It takes much less salt on the outside of the food to give a great flavor than if stirred in while cooking. If you are cooking for someone who wants to reduce their salt intake, try offering it on the table and use less in cooking.
shopping for this recipe
Veracruz Style Steelhead or Salmon
- 2-3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 medium onion diced small
- 5 cloves garlic
- 2 cups tomatoes seeded and diced (or one can of diced tomatoes, reserve liquid)
- 10-15 green olives halved if large
- 3-4 pickled jalapeño peppers sliced
- 2 teaspoons capers
- 1/2 teaspoon salt see note
- 2 bay leaves
- several sprigs of fresh thyme or 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1/2 cup low-sodium chicken broth
- 1 pound of steelhead trout cut into 3 or 4 fillets
- 2 tablespoons flat-leaf parsley for garnish
- Heat oil in ovenproof skillet and preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
- Add onion and saute until onion turns slightly yellow, 4-5 minutes.
- Add garlic and saute until fragrant, about 1 minute more.
- Add the tomatoes and simmer gently for about 10 minutes. Use a potato masher to partly puree the tomatoes and the onions.
- Stir in the olives, pickled jalapeños, capers, broth and seasonings except for the parsley. If you want extra sauce, add the reserved juice from the tomatoes. Simmer for another 5 minutes.
- Place the trout fillets into the sauce and let them simmer for about 5 minutes until done on the bottom.
- Gently turn the fillets, spooning sauce on top. Place in the preheated oven for 5-10 minutes more until the fillets are as done as you prefer. At high altitude, you may wish to cover the skillet to be sure the fish is done.
- When the fish is cooked to your desired doneness, remove from the oven, transfer the fish to a plate, spoon extra sauce over the top, sprinkle the parsley on, and serve.