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Snapper in Green Sauce

by Jane Worthington-Roth

The islands throughout the Caribbean are known for their fresh farm-(or sea)-to-table cuisines often delivered with a spicy kick from colorful scotch bonnet peppers. One exception to the rule is the island of Cuba, which generally offers a very mild blend of Spanish, African and Caribbean cuisines.

I recently returned from a wonderful trip to Cuba, exploring Havana, the southern coast and the inland valley and mountains. Throughout our trip we ate the ubiquitous Cuban dishes of rice and black beans (Moros y Cristianos) served with grilled chicken or with Ropa Vieja (shredded beef or pork), but my favorite meal was Red Snapper served in a green sauce – Pescado en Salsa Verde. I couldn’t wait to get home and try recreating the dish. The fish is gently simmered in a sauce of puréed onion, garlic and parsley. With its striking green color this recipe works as well for company as it does for a simple evening meal.

If you’d like, serve each portion in individual pans or shallow bowls, with some crusty bread for sopping up all the delicious sauce.


Two ¾ pound red snapper fish fillets, skinned and cut into bite size pieces

1 cup extra virgin olive oil, a little extra or sautéing
1 cup sweet onion, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup dry white wine
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
2 cups fresh parsley leaves, rinsed well and patted dry
½ teaspoon each salt and pepper

In a large frying pan, sauté the onion and garlic in a little olive oil until soft and translucent, but not browned.

Transfer the onion and garlic into a medium bowl and add all other ingredients except for the fish and purée with an immersion blender until smooth. If you’d rather, place the sauce ingredients in a small food processor and pulse until smooth.

Add a little more oil to the bottom of the frying pan and place the red snapper in a single layer. Pour green sauce over of the fish and bring to a boil, then cover and gently simmer for about 20 minutes.

Serve the fish and sauce with rice or couscous and a wedge of lime.