In this special weekly feature, TODAY food editor Phil Lempert brings you recipes “stolen” (with permission) from notable restaurants across America. See how much fun you can have (and money you can save) by cooking these dishes at home.
THIS WEEK: Huachinango Veracruzano (Red Snapper Veracruz Style) from Fonda San Miguel in Austin, Texas.
Veracruz borders the Gulf of Mexico and was thus a place where many Spanish conquistadors landed when they first came to the Americas. Here culinary traditions evolved with Mediterranean, French, Spanish, African, and Caribbean influences thus giving us Veracruzano -Veracruz style. Distinct with its capers, green olives, olive oil, bay (laurel) leaf and garlic, these all combine to present a tasty, yet light, dish. Sub other peppers for the jalapenos for a little twist or that extra touch of spice. At the Port of Veracruz, there are countless varieties of seafood to serve with this versatile sauce. Chef Miguel Ravago of Fonda San Miguel likes the sauce with shrimp and fish filets – below is his suggestion on serving Shrimp Veracruz Style. As for us, we love it so much we even put it on our baked potatoes!
1PfalsefalseAbout the chef: Miguel Ravago, executive chef and cofounder of Fonda San Miguel restaurant in Austin, Texas, began his cooking career at an early age. Growing up in Phoenix surrounded by a large family, Ravago watched as his grandmother cooked three meals a day for as many as twenty people. “I was always curious about cooking so my grandmother started showing me how to do things like fill tamales. By the time I was six or seven, I was helping in the kitchen quite a bit. Gradually I started cooking meals for the family several times a week. So even when I was pretty young, I think I knew I wanted to be a chef,” says Ravago.
By 1968, Ravago was ready to expand his culinary horizons, prompting him to move to Austin. There, he met Tom Gilliland, and the two became fast friends. Pooling their ideas, energy and talents, they opened the San Angel Inn restaurant in Houston in 1972. That same year, Ravago attended advanced cooking classes with Diana Kennedy, author of the seminal cookbook, “The Cuisines of Mexico.” Under Kennedy’s tutelage in New York City, Ravago began to perfect the cooking skills he had learned as a boy. In subsequent years, he trained by Kennedy’s side at her home in Mexico and toured Mexico with her. He also participated in special culinary tours of Mexico with cookbook author Marilyn Tausend, studying the cuisines of Oaxaca, Veracruz, Puebla, and the Yucatan. In 1975, Ravago co-founded Fonda San Miguel in Austin with Gilliland.
Since then, Ravago has trained kitchen staff ranging from prep cooks to line cooks to servers. Under Ravago's culinary guidance, Fonda San Miguel has set a standard in Texas for regional cuisine from Mexico’s interior. In addition to his stewardship of the restaurant, Ravago co-authored “Cocina de la Familia”with Tausend in 1997, which won a Julia Child cookbook award in 1998 and has also been published in Spanish. More recently Ravago and Gilliland co-authored “Fonda San Miguel: Thirty Years Of Food And Art.”
Huachinango Veracruzano is served at Fonda San Miguel for $20.50. The recipe is for a serving size of two.
Fonda San Miguel
2330 W. North Loop
Austin, Texas 78756
Want to nominate your favorite restaurant dish for a "Steal This Recipe" feature? Just e-mail Phil at Phil.Lempert@nbc.com (or use the mail box below) with the name of the restaurant, city and state, and the dish you would like to have re-created. Want to know more about Phil and food? Visit his Web site at www.supermarketguru.com.