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Pescado Veracruz

Mar 14, 2012 12:48PM ● By Anonymous

Chef Obed Serrano, head chef at Jalapeños in Annapolis, hails from the Mexican state of Oaxaca. He’s a veteran in the kitchen, having worked in nearly all positions before bringing his love of authentic Mexican and Spanish cuisine to Annapolis. He shared with us a favorite dish of his, Pescado Veracruz, which is very popular in Mexico. The main difference, however, is the presentation of the fish. “In Mexico, you cook this dish with the whole fish,” Serrano says. “But here I have learned that people do not really enjoy to see the whole fish with its head,” so he adapted the recipe so that it would please patrons, both in flavor and in aesthetics.

How did your culinary career begin?
Everything started in 1987 at a restaurant in New York. Over the years, I have tried my best to learn new skills from the different chefs I worked for at different restaurants.

What is your culinary influence?
Authentic Mexican and Spanish food.

How did you come to be chef at Jalapeños?
Owners Gonzalo and Alberto talked to me about their project, giving me the opportunity and trust to become the chef in their kitchen. In the past, I had worked every position in the kitchen except the chef ’s position. This is my first adventure, and I believe that I have done everything I can in the restaurant because they keep supporting me in their kitchen. It’s now been 12 years of working together.

How often do you add new dishes to the menu?
Around every six months or so.

What are your favorite and least-favorite foods?
I really like every type of food when it is well prepared. I enjoy a good steak and, of course, the food of Oaxaca, my hometown.

What’s your favorite food TV show?
I watch the Food Network. My favorite shows are Chopped and Iron Chef.

What beverage would you pair with this dish?
A good margarita, cervesa (beer), or white wine.

Pescado Veracruz

4 white fish filets (Recommended: Rockfish, Grouper, Halibut, or Mahi Mahi)
4 cloves garlic, sliced
1 green pepper, diced
1 pound tomatoes, diced
1/2 medium onion, sliced
Olive oil
3/4 cup white wine
1 teaspoon capers
2 tablespoons green olives, sliced
Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Heat the olive oil in a large oven-safe pan. Dust the fish filets with flour and add to the hot pan. Sear the fish on both sides, and then remove it from the pan.

Add additional olive oil to the same pan, then add the garlic and sauté. Add the green peppers, tomatoes, and onion. When they start to become tender, return the fish to the pan.

Add the capers, olives, and white wine.

Transfer the pan to the oven and bake until the fish is cooked through, and the vegetables are tender.