When friend and fellow blogger Drick dedicated a post to me recently, "A Tasty Treat for Tasty Trix, " naturally I was thrilled. Not only has no one ever done that before, but I couldn't wait to make the dish, Red Snapper a la Varacruzana. After, all, the recipe has so many of my favorite things in it: capers, chipotle, jalapenos, olives, garlic, tomatoes, wine (!) ... just reading it, I could already taste the smoky, tangy heat of the sauce and how it would work with the mild, buttery fish.
Turns out this dish was even better than I imagined. You should definitely head over to Drick's blog, check out his recipe, and make this for yourself. And if you're thinking of leaving anything out, don't. As I always do, I was tasting the sauce as I went, and it wasn't until I added the very last two ingredients - brown sugar and pickled jalapenos - that everything clicked. This sauce is a marriage of many flavors - salty, tangy, hot, sweet, and sour - and without any one element it's out of balance.
That said, there is one thing I added to Drick's recipe: shrimp. This wasn't because I thought the original recipe was lacking; rather, it's because the fish guy at the grocery store somehow managed to turn a beautiful, fresh, big red snapper into two itty-bitty, badly butchered fillets, and I figured if I didn't add something Poppa Trix and I would starve to death.
I served the dish with crunchy polenta cakes. Just make polenta your usual way (I used Bob's Red Mill) and then pour it all into an oiled rectangular casserole dish to rest for about 30 minutes. Flip it upside down, cut it into squares, and grill it on a grill pan. These little corny bricks soak up all that good sauce, and they make great leftovers (with a little more of that sauce, of course!) the next day.
Thanks for the new favorite, Drick!