Hubby had a Camera Club gathering in the Everglades Sunday afternoon. While he expected to be back around 7:30, our regular dinner time, they do sometimes get caught up in post-gathering discussions. We’d already planned to do swordfish, but rather than grill as usual which meant waiting for him to get home to start, I mentioned we hadn’t done Vera Cruz style for a while and we did have a can of tomatoes with green chilies in the pantry. We agreed that was the way to go.
He had a good time with the Camera Club and called me with his estimated arrival which did happen to be close to 7:30. In putting the finishing touches on dinner – used some leftovers for sides and made the usual salad, I commented on the first time I had snapper Vera Cruz – snapper being the most common fish used in the dish. In a moment of digression, being raised in a small town in Northwest Louisiana in the 1950s-1970s, Mexican food was Tex-Mex and seafood was not in the mix so to speak. Our part of Louisiana is 230 or so miles north of the Gulf and local restaurants carried only freshwater fish and frozen, breaded shrimp. Someone would occasionally bring in a load of fresh shrimp, but it wasn’t common then. Anyway, when I was in California for a few months while on a special assignment in the Army, it didn’t occur to me there was a difference in Mexican food. Was I in for a surprise. A pleasant one of course and snapper Vera Cruz was one of those first dishes I tried. Shredded beef instead of ground was also different as was a heavier use of cumin and a couple of other spices. Being here in Homestead with lots of Mexican restaurants, I was happy to see they have a variety of regional choices depending on what mood we’re in.