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Fish Escabeche

Fish Escabeche

6-8 fish fillets (grouper, Pacific sierra, mahi mahi, or hake)


yellow onions cut in strips or rings


garlic cloves, thinly sliced


bell pepper cut into strips


cup stuffed olives (whole or sliced)


teaspoon whole black pepper


cup of apple cider vinegar

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  • 1

    Season the fish with salt and pepper. Panfry the fish in batches (about 2 minutes per side) in 2 tablespoons of canola oil and transfer to a platter.

  • 2

    For the escabeche:Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of canola oil in a skillet.

  • 3

    Add the onions, garlic, bell pepper, bay leaves, olives and pepper.

  • 4

    Cook over low heat for 3 to 5 minutes so that the onions don’t soften too much.

  • 5

    Add the olive oil and vinegar, stir well and let cook for 15 minutes over low heat.

  • 6

    Pour the mix over the fish fillets and let marinate from 6 to 24 hours. The more time you let it marinate, the more flavor it will have.

Expert Tips

  • You can add thinly sliced carrots to the recipe.

Nutrition Facts

Serving Size: 1 Serving
% Daily Value
Total Fat
Saturated Fat
Total Carbohydrate
Dietary Fiber
Vitamin C


*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.

More About This Recipe

  • Fish escabeche is one of the traditional meals found in Christian homes during Lent, when many forgo meat for fish or seafood. I remember that my mom would prepare tons of escabeche to avoid having to cook a lot during the week. She would leave it marinating in a glass container with a lid, and she would also make seafood salads during this time.

  • 1/4 cup kosher salt
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 pound fish fillets (cut into 2- to 3-inch pieces)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 mashed garlic cloves
  • 1 hot chili (cut in half)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 large onion (sliced into half-moons)
  • 1 teaspoon black peppercorns
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
  • 1 teaspoon coriander seed
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano leaves
  • 1 cup fish or chicken broth
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 1 cup white wine vinegar
  • 2 more bay leaves

Combine the cup salt with 4 cups of water, and stir to combine. Brine the fish in this mixture for 30 to 45 minutes.

Heat the olive oil in a large pan, and add the mashed garlic cloves, chili, and 2 bay leaves. Cook these aromatics in the oil over medium heat until the garlic browns, about 4 to 6 minutes. Do not let the garlic burn. Remove the aromatics and discard.

Turn the heat up to medium-high, and cook the fish. You want a good sear, so if the fish is not cooking hot enough, turn the heat all the way up to high. Sear each side of the fish for 1 to 3 minutes, depending on the thickness. You don't need to cook the fish all the way through.

Remove the fish to cool. Add the slivered onion, lower the heat to medium and cook until translucent. Remove to cool.

Add all the remaining ingredients to the pan, turn the heat up to high, and bring to a rolling boil. Reduce by half, turn off the heat, and let cool.

When everything is at room temperature, pour the sauce into a container, and add the fish and onions. Store in the refrigerator overnight to let the flavors marry.

Pescao en Escabeche (Maricel E. Presilla’s Fish with Escabeche Sauce)

Penny De los Santos

The cooks of Islamic Spain, or Al-Andalus, like the Romans before them, had a penchant for using vinegar-and-olive oil pickling sauces, or escabeches, to flavor and preserve everything from fish to vegetables. The technique survived the demise of Al-Andalus in Spain, as well as in many former Spanish colonies. In my native Cuba, escabeche was synonymous with sierra (sawfish), much appreciated for its firm, white flesh. You could go to any cafeteria or restaurant and always find on the countertop a large earthenware cazuela filled with fried sawfish steaks topped with an olive oil-and-vinegar pickling sauce. Cuban escabeches often resemble contemporary Iberian models, simply seasoned with garlic, sliced yellow onion and bell pepper, and some bay leaf. Because escabeches start with a sofrito, the iconic Spanish and Latin American flavor base subject to infinite permutations, it is not surprising to see that escabeches, too, vary tremendously across Latin America. But vinegar and olive oil remain the backbone of this singular, ocean-spanning technique. —Maricel E. Presilla, author of_ Gran Cocina Latina: The Food of Latin America _(W.W. Norton & Company, 2012)

Pescao en Escabeche (Maricel E. Presilla’s Fish with Escabeche Sauce)

Pescado en Escabeche (Pickled Fish)

Escabeche is tasty, easy, and a perfect pickling sauce for any fish or vegetables.


  • 2 cups white onion chopped
  • 1 cup red bell pepper chopped
  • 7 cloves garlic minced
  • 1/2 cup spanish olives pitted
  • 1 1/2 cups olive oil extra virgin
  • 1 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 1 tbsp black peppercorns


  • 2 large kingfish steaks
  • 1 lemon
  • adobe seasoning
  • salt & pepper for taste
  • oil for frying


First, prepare the escabeche by heating a large sized saucepan to stovetop medium heat. Pour in a little olive oil to saut é . Throw in the chopped white onion, minced garlic, and chopped red bell pepper when the pan is ready.

Sauté the mixture for 3-5 minutes while continuously stirring. Slowly pour in the olive oil and apple cider vinegar. Toss in the spanish olives, bay leaves, salt, and the black peppercorns.

Stir the mixture around and reduce the heat to simmer. Set aside for 45 minutes. Heat a medium frying pan to medium-high heat. Cover the bottom of the frying pan with oil for frying.

Season the king fish steaks with adobe seasoning, salt & pepper, and squeeze half of the lemon onto both sides of the fish. Slowly put each king fish steaks into the pan, and fry each side for 3-4 minutes. Make sure to not over fry the fish. It should be golden on the outside, while making sure the fish meat is still soft.

Place king fish steaks into a small-medium sized glass container. Pour escabeche sauce over the fish and cover the container with a tightly sealed lid. Place in the refrigerator for at least 24 hours for pickling process. Before eating, let fish thaw to room temperature.

Pescado Guisado en Escabeche (Escovitched Fish)

This Pescado Guisado en Escabeche (Escovitched Fish) was modified from my mom's recipe this amazing dish has a nice combination of flavors and textures.

Pescado Guisado en Escabeche (Escovitched Fish) is one of my favorite dishes in our collection of traditional Dominican recipes. Which is something I am certain Aunt Ilana would not say herself.

You see, in many ways Aunt Ilana and I are very much alike. We both love food, and words, the perfect combination for a couple of food bloggers.

One way in which we could not be more different is on our opinion of fish as a food. While Aunt Ilana detests fish, I could have it for breakfast, lunch and dinner (and have had it, in fact, to my husband's horror). Gollum would have a hard time catching up with me.

I grew up eating fish. I come from a coastal town, after all.

This is my mother's favorite fish dish. Imagine my surprise when reading this article, a comparison between Jamaican cuisine and Dominican cuisine, that Jamaicans prepare a dish that is very similar to this. Most importantly, I learned a new word: escovitch, which sounds suspiciously close to "escabeche", a traditional Dominican sauce.

A quick trip to my big fat dictionary revealed that. the word wasn't in it. Curioser and curioser.

Digging a bit deeper I discovered that escovitch wasn't only a sauce, it's a cooking method, one that involves frying fish or meat, then dousing it "liberally with a pickling sauce made from vinegar, pimento, onions, pepper, (and sometimes carrots).". Where have I seen this before?

My mom's kitchen, that's where. Sweet synchronicity, Batman!

And speaking of my mother's recipe, the only change I have made to the escovitched fish is adding basil, cause I love basil, and basil belongs in tomato sauce. If you don't like, or don't have basil feel free to omit it.



  • 1 large broccoli head, cut into little “trees” about 3 inches long
  • 1 medium cabbage, cut into large pieces (I like using Chinese cabbage for this dish)
  • 1 large eggplant or 4 medium long (Japanese or Chinese) eggplants, sliced lengthwise, 1/4 inch thick
  • 3 to 4 cups water
  • 1 to 1 1/3 cups white vinegar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt (plus more for seasoning the fish)
  • 6 to 8 teaspoons tumeric (plus more for seasoning the fish)
  • 1 tablespoon chopped garlic
  • 3 pounds white fish (tilapia and orange roughy are good for this dish)
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • Black pepper, about a teaspoon
  • Optional: Other vegetables of your choosing, like sliced onions or leafy greens


Place a large skillet or wok over medium high heat. I have a 14″ skillet that I love to use for making fried rice, stir-fried dishes, or making dishes like escabeche. You want a fairly large pot that is wide across the top so that you can somewhat steam the vegetables, not boil them.

Pour 1 cup of water into the pan and bring it to a boil.

Add 1/2 teaspoon salt to the boiling water.

Add the broccoli to the pan.

Pour 1/3 cup of vinegar into the pan.

Sprinkle 2 teaspoons of tumeric over the broccoli.

Use a pair of tongs to gently stir the mixture around in the pan, just until the tumeric is mixed into the liquid.

Cook the broccoli just until it is slightly wilted, or cooked to your liking. Place the broccoli into a medium sized mixing bowl, leaving the tumeric sauce in the pan.

If you don’t have much liquid in the pan, add another cup of water and 1/3 cup of vinegar, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 2 more teaspoons of tumeric. Bring the liquid back up to a boil then add the cabbage leaves.

Use the tongs to turn the cabbage, evenly coating each leaf in tumeric sauce. Cook until the leaves begin to wilt.

Place the cooked cabbage into the bowl of broccoli, leaving the liquid in the pan once again.

As with the step before, if you don’t have much liquid in the pan, add another cup of water, 1/3 cup vinegar, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 2 more teaspoons tumeric.

Bring the liquid to a boil then add the sliced eggplant to the pan. Turn the heat down to medium low (the eggplant takes longer to cook and your liquid may dry up completely as the eggplant cooks). Cook the eggplant for about 4 minutes then flip the slices over and cook the other side for another 4 minutes (or cook until the eggplant softens).

When the eggplant is done, remove it from the pan and place it into the bowl with the other cooked vegetables.

Repeat this process (of cooking the vegetables) for any remaining vegetables you are adding to the dish (like onions or kangkun leaves).

If your liquid dries up, add another cup of water, 1/3 cup vinegar, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 2 teaspoons tumeric. Add the garlic to the pan. Turn the heat back up to medium high. Cook the garlic sauce for a couple of minutes.

Pour the sauce over the cooked vegetables. Set aside until the fish is done.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Place the fish filets on a large rimmed baking sheet.

Sprinkle salt, black pepper, garlic powder, and tumeric on both sides of the fish. Bake at 400 degrees for 15-20 minutes. Use a fork to check for doneness (the fish should flake easily with a fork).

When the fish is done, it’s time to layer the escabeche.

In the bottom of a 9吉 pan, place a even layer of eggplant, half of the cabbage leaves and broccoli.

Carefully place each of the baked fish filets on top of the bottom layer of vegetables.

I don’t have a photo of these next steps (I don’t know how I forgot to take photos!), but layer the remaining vegetables on top of the layer of fish.

Pour any remaining sauce over the vegetables.

While you can eat this immediately, this dish is best if made the day before and allowed to “marinate” overnight. Cover the dish tightly with aluminum foil then place in the refrigerator to allow the flavors to meld.

The next day, after all the sauce soaked into the fish and vegetables, the escabeche is now perfect and ready to enjoy. Reheat individual portions, or bake the entire pan (covered with foil) at 350 degrees for about 20-25 minutes.

Serve with hot steamed rice and fina’denne’. ENJOY!

Tips To Help Achieve The Best Fish Escabeche

1. Only fresh fish should be used. Before buying, look out for signs such as a clear and plump eye, firm and shine flesh, wet and bright red/pink gills

2. Ask that the fish be de-scaled and cleaned for convenience purposes. Otherwise, this you can easily do with your fine knife for slit making and scissors for trimming off the fins

3. Avoid scrubbing with salt on a wet fish, as the oil tends to splatter when frying is done. You should pat dry the fish after washing

4. Include ginger in the sauce, as this will enhance its flavor and help cut the fishy smell

Fish Escabeche, Spanish Style – Cook First, Marinade Later

It is always fun for me to discover a new food to try. Despite years of cooking, I had never come across escabeche before. Today’s post is about Spanish style fish escabeche, and the round about way I found this exciting new (to me) dish!

Collecting cookbooks is an addiction for me. I own several hundred of them, and yet I can never have enough. As you might expect given the focus of this blog, I have many books on Mediterranean cuisines. Spanish, Turkish, Moroccan, Arabic, Italian, Provencal to name a few. I also have books on other global cuisines, books on techniques, and books on the science of cooking. You name it, I have a cookbook for it.

Once I get a book, I obsess over it for weeks. Often, I slip scraps of paper between the pages as a promise to myself I will make this recipe. I try recipes and I adapt recipes. Sometimes I can get completely preoccupied with a new cookbook for weeks. It is one of the things I like most about writing a food blog. I love experimenting with new foods I discover in the cookbooks.

The Elegant Baker knows well of my obsession (it might be true she shares it, but with baking books and magazines!) So for a recent gift she got me Jose Pizarro’s excellent book Catalonia.. This book is a winner in every way. From the Miro inspired cover to the stunning photographs, and the delightful recipes.

Joan Miro

Besides to my passion for cooking, I am very enthusiastic about art. Joan Miro is on of my favorite artists. He was an influential 20th century artist from Catalonia. His work is distinct, and often associated with Surrealism. When you visit Barcelona, I would strongly recommend a visit to the Joan Miro Foundation there. It is one of the “must see” attractions in that great city.

The Gold of the Azure — Joan Miro
Joan Miró Foundation, Barcelona, Spain

Back to the food

Besides the cover, Pizarro’s recipe for Mussels in Escabeche grabbed my attention. I can’t say I was aware of escabeche before seeing it here (the photo hooked me first). After reading through the recipe, I further researched escabeche. I found a variation on it in everyone of my Spanish cookbooks. Made with with mussels, quail, chicken, mackerel, sardines, I knew that I had to try it.

Escabeche is a technique where you are marinating the food after you cook in instead of before. In Spanish cuisine, escabeche is a useful technique for all sorts of fish, chicken, or pork dishes. The meat is cooked through and then allowed to rest for several hours in the escabeche sauce. From my reading, fish escabeche includes an acidic marinade along with herbs and olive oil. Vinegar, vermouth, and citrus are common acids used in escabeche.

The Islamic Spanish region of Al Andalus is believed to be the birthplace of escabeche. It is the technique of pickling meats in vinegar and olive oil. I also learned that fish ecabeche has made it way across the Atlantic. It is popular in Latin America including Cuban, Mexican and South American cuisines. Further, it is a near cousin to ‘ceviche’, using acid to tenderize fish. Of course, in ceviche, the acid is effectively cooking the fish as well. With escabeche, you do cook the meat through first.

Because I had some on hand, I adapted the recipe for use with cod instead of mussels. We had mussels for dinner earlier in the week, so I wanted something different. I substitute grated tomato for seafood stock and sherry vinegar for vermouth vinegar.

Grating tomato allows you to discard the skin, but be left with a liquidy pulp from the fruit. Although it sounds a bit odd, it is actually as easy as its name implies. Place a grater over a bowl or plate. Cut the tomato in half, and begin rubbing the exposed inside of the tomato along the grater.

The rest of the dish comes together easily as well. I cut and seasoned the cod and then cooked it. I set the cooked cod, aside in a bowl. Using the same pan from the cod, I heated the remaining ingredients and, then combine them with the cod. The trick is to do this enough long before you want to eat. You want it to marinate together for two to three hours once it has all been cooked.

Having never had fish escabeche before, I didn’t know what to expect, but was very happy with the results. The fish was very flavorful and melt in your mouth tender. I paired it with a carrot and watercress salad (I’ll post that recipe on another day) and we had a delicious meal.

We have since had the opportunity to try escabeche at a local Spanish restaurant we were recently at. They offered a starter of mussels in escabeche. I liked it, and I liked the texture of the mussels prepared this way. Trying it at the restaurant also gave me the opportunity to compare the flavors. I don’t think I’m bragging to say that I felt that mine compared favorably.

I am not yet an expert on fish escabeche, and perhaps I haven’t executed the most traditional version here. But I love trying new food and new skills, so I can easily say that I found the entire process enjoyable and very tasty! I will be making escabeche again, and next time I will try it with the mussels!

  • 1 octopus (3-4 lb)
  • 2 large Spanish onions or 4 large onions
  • 1 cup olive oil
  • 8 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 bay leaf
  • ¼ g saffron (opt.)
  • 3 Tbsp smoked paprika
  • 1 Tbsp chile pasilla de Oaxaca flakes
  • 1 Tbsp cumin
  • 1 tsp aniseed
  • 1 Tbsp oregano
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 Tbsp black pepper
  • ½ cup sherry vinegar or red wine vinegar
  • ½ cup sherry or white wine
  • Salt to taste

Bring a pot of water large enough to accommodate the octopus to a boil.

Using a small, sharp knife, remove and discard the beak found at the center of the tentacles. Rinse octopus in running water. Pay particular attention to the head of the octopus- the inside can often hold a lot of sand.

Immerse the octopus in the boiling water and remove after one minute.

When the water returns to a vigorous boil, return the octopus to the pot. This additional step helps firm up the octopus and make it more tender. Reduce heat to medium-low when the water returns to a boil. Cover and simmer for 1 hour. The octopus should be tender but firm.

Place saffron in a small bowl and add ¼ cup of the octopus boiling water.

Grind spices and set aside.

Meanwhile, slice onions into ½-inch rounds. Place in a pot with the olive oil and cook on medium until the onions are just cooked. You just want to remove the raw taste from the onions, but keep them white.

Add minced garlic, bay leaf, and spices. Sauté 1 minute. Incorporate sherry vinegar. Boil gently for 10 minutes. Salt to taste.

Place cooked octopus on a plate and let cool. Reserve 1 cup of the octopus cooking liquid. You can also reserve the remaining liquid for a rice pilaf or soup.

Slice tentacles and head into 1-inch sections and place in the sauce. Bring to a boil. If needed, add some of the octopus cooking liquid to ensure the meat is all coated in the sauce. Let simmer for 5 minutes and transfer to a plate. Let stand for at least 1-2 hours.

Take the octopus out of the fridge at least 1 hour before serving, and incorporate parsley, garlic, and oil 30 minutes before serving.

How To Store Escovitch Fish?

The best time to eat escovitch is the day after it is cooked because the pickled sauce is soaked through the fish. Then the fish is bursting with flavour.

If you storing it for more than a day, put the fish in the refrigerator. The good this about pickles sauces it that is can store for a long time. I know you will finish the fish before it goes of.

You can reheat escovitch fish but it taste amazing just as it is.

In Jamaican, escovitch fish is serve with festival dumpling, bammy or hand dough bread.

More Fish Recipes

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THANK YOU for all of your support, for visiting my blog, commenting, and sharing my recipes with your friends and family. I am SO thankful for you!

If you try this Jamaican escovitch fish recipe, then don’t forget to rate it and leave a comment below. I would LOVE to hear about your experience and your comments just makes my day!

Watch the video: Grilling og steking av fisk (December 2021).