Fish Hash (Minilla)
- SERVINGS: 4 TO 6
Every cook in Veracruz makes a version of this piquant fish dish, and it's often a vehicle for using up the leftovers from a large grilled fish. Some people also turn the hash into a filling for empanadas. This imaginatively seasoned version is Zarela Martinez&339;s favorite. It comes from Tomasa Meléndez Hernández, the guiding light of Las Brisas del Mar, a restaurant in Boca del Río, just south of the port of Veracruz. The olives, parsley, thyme and other Mediterranean seasonings reveal the strong Spanish influences in Veracruz's cuisine.
- 2 quarts water
- 4 unpeeled garlic cloves
- 1 small unpeeled white onion, left whole, plus 1 large white onion, finely chopped
- 6 bay leaves
- 2 pounds firm-fleshed white fish fillets, such as tilefish, red snapper or grouper, cut into 4-inch chunks
- 2 tablespoons pure olive oil
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 2 medium tomatoes, finely chopped
- 1/2 cup coarsely chopped flat-leaf parsley
- 1/2 cup coarsely chopped mint
- 1 teaspoon thyme leaves
- 1/2 cup finely chopped green olives
- 1/3 cup chopped pickled jalapeño chiles
- 2 teaspoons Garlic Seasoning (Ajo Preparado)
- In a large saucepan, combine the water with the garlic cloves, whole small white onion, 2 of the bay leaves and 1 teaspoon of salt and bring to a boil; simmer for 10 minutes. Add the fish in a single layer and simmer over moderate heat until just cooked through, about 5 minutes. Transfer the fish to a platter to cool. Break the fish into large pieces, discarding any bones and skin.
- In a large skillet, heat the olive oil and vegetable oil until shimmering. Add the chopped white onion and cook over high heat, stirring, until just beginning to brown, about 3 minutes. Add the tomatoes, parsley, mint, thyme and the remaining 4 bay leaves and cook over moderately high heat, stirring occasionally, until a thick sauce forms, about 8 minutes. Stir in the olives, pickled jalapeños and Garlic Seasoning (Ajo Preparado). Add the fish and cook until warmed through and all of the liquid has been absorbed, about 5 minutes. Discard the bay leaves and season the hash with salt. Transfer to a bowl and serve.
Poached fish says white wine, and the onions, garlic, olives, herbs and chiles clinch it for herby, olive-y California Sauvignon Blancs.