Prior to Easter, during a 40-day period of fasting known as Lent, believers prepare for Easter by praying, giving alms, atoning for their sins and self-denial. Lent lasts forty days, in commemoration of the forty days that Jesus fasted in the desert, right before beginning his ministry (this is according to the Gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke).

Lent is observed by Christians in the Anglican, Calvinist, Lutheran, Methodist, and Roman Catholic traditions. During this time, Roman Catholics avoid rich foods such as meat and dairy. Fish, vegetables and grains become the norm. BTW, the fasting ends on Easter Sunday, April 5, 2015.

This year, Lent began on Ash Wednesday, February 18th. Many people have asked me to post a delicious fish recipe – something more than grilled or baked. Here’s a traditional fish recipe from Veracruz, Mexico. It’s called “pescado a la Veracruzana” or “Fish Veracruz Style”. I think you’ll love it!

Prep time: 30 minutes
Cooking time: 15 to 20 minutes
Serves: 4

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3 carrots, peeled and julienned (cut into thin wedges)
1 red or green bell pepper, seeds & stem discarded and flesh cut into long strips
1 large zucchini, tips cut & discarded and flesh cut into 1/2-inch thick circles
1 medium brown or white onion, chopped
2 stalks celery, peeled and cut into 3/4-inch pieces
2 large, ripe tomatoes, cut into 1-inch pieces and seeds discarded
1/2 cup pitted green olives, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup vegetable broth or water
Salt and ground black pepper, to taste
Four 8-ounce fish filets (fresh Red Snapper, cod, rockfish or haddock), rinsed under cold water & pat dry with paper towels


1. In a 12-inch skillet, heat the olive oil.

2. When oil is hot, add the carrots, bell pepper, zucchini, onion and celery.

3. Stir-fry the vegetables on medium-high setting for about 3 minutes.

4. After 3 minutes, stir in the tomato pieces, green olives and the broth or water.

5. Cook the vegetable-broth mixture for 2 to 3 minutes.

6. After 2 to 3 minutes, stir in the salt and pepper.

7. Carefully add the fish filets, one at a time by gently pushing each one down, underneath the vegetables and into the cooking liquid.

8. Cover the skillet and cook on medium heat for about 5 to 6 minutes or until the fish filets are done.

9. To check doneness of fish, using a fork, cut into the center of one filet and taste.

10. If needed, cook the fish filets for an additional 2 to 4 minutes.

11. Serve the Fish Veracruz Style with white rice as a side.

Wine Pairing Suggestion: Chilled Chardonnay or Pinot Grigio (both are white wine varietals).
Text and Photograph ©2015 Nancy DeLucia Real