Skate wing a la veracruzana with corn tortillas

In the search of our perfect tortilla, we have definitely lost quite a bit of time. There were a lot of ups and downs, but ultimately we found this recipe by the charismatic Mexican cook from Jauja Cocina Mexicana. The results are the closest to what we could call a great corn tortilla. We generally believe that the best way to explore traditional recipes is to search for them in their original language. Undoubtedly, such a task might be a troublesome challenge, but in this case shows it was worth the effort. Thin, pliable and perfectly browned corn tortilla.

Our tortilla was filled to the brim with juicy skate meat and salsa a la veracruzana. Veracruz is one of the Southeast regions of Mexico. Famous for its seafood, the food of Veracruz combines Spanish influence with indigenous Mexican ingredients. The salsa we used for our tacos demonstrates this connection: cooked tomatoes, olives, capers, fresh parsley and toasted spices which give a very earthy depth of flavour. This recipe for fish tacos a la veracruzana comes from Alex Stupak’s book on tacos.

Skate wing a la veracruzana with corn tortillas

Course: MainCuisine: MexicanDifficulty: Easy


Prep time


Cooking time




  • A better corn tortilla
  • 200g masa harina

  • 280g warm water

  • Generous pinch of salt

  • Salsa a la veracruzana
  • ¼ tsp dried marjoram or oregano

  • ¼ tsp dried thyme

  • 2.5cm of cinnamon stick

  • 3 whole cloves

  • ½ tsp peppercorns

  • 2tbsp olive oil

  • ½ onion, minced

  • 2 garlic cloves, minced

  • 5 medium tomatoes, diced

  • 20 olives, minced

  • 2tbsp capers, minced

  • 2 jalapeños, diced

  • 2 bay leaves

  • 1tsp salt

  • 200ml water or fish stock

  • 40 parsley leaves, roughly chopped

  • Baked skate wing
  • 1 skate wing, about 650g

  • Olive oil

  • Salt, pepper

  • A half quantity of the salsa from the recipe above


  • A better corn tortilla
  • In a large bowl combine masa, water and salt.
  • Mix all the ingredients until a homogenous texture is achieved.
  • Knead the dough until it becomes tacky but not sticky.
  • If the dough is too dry, add a little more water. If it is too wet, add a bit more masa harina.
  • Cover it with a cling film and let it rest. We found this step really crucial. The masa needs time to absorb all the water and rehydrate. The minimum is 30min, but we think that after 1 hour of the resting, the dough performs better.
  • Portion the dough into small balls (45g each).
  • Preheat a large cast iron skillet – ideally, a comal – over high heat, it should reach about 250C.
  • Start shaping your tortillas, you will need a heavy item (e.g. a cast iron pan) and a plastic bag.
  • Put a corn ball into the plastic bag and press it with a heavy item. The tortilla should be around 2mm thick (or 12cm diameter).
  • Place your first tortilla on a pan and set a timer for 30 seconds.
  • Once you can see the tortilla getting dry on the edges, flip it onto the other side and cook for the next 90 seconds.
  • Once you see the bubbles appearing on the texture of the tortilla, flip the tortilla again and now you have to press the tortilla in the middle using three fingers.
  • And then cook for the last 30 seconds.
  • Pressing the tortilla will help create an air bubble inside the dough, you will see the tortilla inflating.
  • This step has an impact on pliability of the tortilla and how tender it will be.
  • Salsa a la veracruzana
  • Take a small plastic zip bag and pack inside the cinnamon stick, cloves and peppercorns.
  • Close the bag and hit it a few times with a hammer/rolling pin or anything fairly heavy. This step is not necessary but it will help to release more aromas while the spices are toasted.
  • Take a large pan and set it over medium heat.
  • Add to the pan following ingredients: marjoram/oregano, dried thyme, crushed cinnamon stick, cloves and peppercorns. Toast the spices for about 15 seconds until they are pungent.
  • Transfer the spices into a mortar and grind into a fine powder.
  • Heat up a large pan over medium heat. Drizzle 2 tablespoons of the olive oil.
  • Add the minced onions and sauté until translucent, about 3min.
  • Add the garlic and keep cooking for another minute. Neither onions nor garlic should brown.
  • Now, add the rest of the ingredients apart from the parsley.
  • Mix well and bring to a boil. Simmer the mixture for 10min.
  • There should be barely any water left on the pan.
  • Remove the pan from the stove, stir in the parsley and correct the salt content.
  • Baked skate wing
  • Preheat the oven to 150C.
  • Pat dry the fish and place it on a baking tray lined up with a strong foil (or baking paper if you’ve just run out like us).
  • Rub both sides of the fish with some olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
  • Pour a half quantity of the salsa on the top of the fish, it should cover the skate completely.
  • Bake in the oven for 30min.
  • Once it’s ready, remove from the oven and let the fish rest for 10min.

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