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Shrimp Vera Cruz

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4 to 6 servings


Usually prepared with fish, this classic dish from the city of Vera Cruz located southeast of Mexico Cityon the Gulf of Mexico can also be prepared with shrimp.  It is a good reduced-calorie recipe filled with lots of flavor.


  • About 1 to 2 tablespoons cooking oil (extra virgin olive oil or corn, canola, or safflower oil)  (see note)
  • 1½ to 2 pounds large shrimp, peeled, deveined, tails removed, and butterflied if desired
  • 1 medium onion, peeled and chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled and minced
  • About 2 pounds firm ripe tomatoes, chopped, or 1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes (including liquid
  • 1 tablespoon finely snipped fresh cilantro leaves (no stems)
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder or to taste
  • 1 tablespoon freshly grated orange peel
  • 1 teaspoon sugar or the equivalent of 1 teaspoon sugar in granulated sugar substitute (optional)
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 (4-ounce) jar diced pimento, drained
  • 1 (3-ounce) jar pitted green olives, drained and thinly sliced or coarsely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons capers, drained
  • Additional finely snipped fresh cilantro leaves or minced parsley for garnish


In a large skillet or sauté pan, heat 1 to 2 tablespoons oil over moderate heat; lightly brown shrimp in hot oil, about 2 minutes.  Remove shrimp and set aside.  Add onion to pan drippings and continue to cook, stirring frequently, until onion is just tender but not browned.  Add garlic, tomatoes, cilantro, chili powder, orange peel, sugar, if desired, and salt and pepper to taste.  Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 10 minutes.  Add pimento, olives, and capers to tomato mixture.  Return shrimp to skillet; evenly spoon sauce over shrimp.  Simmer, cover ajar, over low heat for about 5 minutes or until shrimp are opaque in color and cut easily with a fork.  Do not overcook.  Garnish each serving with a sprinkle of finely snipped cilantro leaves or minced parsley.


Note: May omit oil, if desired; liberally coat skillet with non-caloric vegetable cooking spray.  

Variation: Omit shrimp; use 1 to 2 pounds sea or bay scallops or fish fillet of choice. Cook           scallops as time as the shrimp.  Cook fish fillets about 12 to 15 minutes, depending upon thickness of fish, or until opaque in color and flakes easily with a fork.  Do not overcook either scallops or fish as they will become tough in texture.

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