Escovitch or “Escabeche is a typical Mediterranean cuisine which refers to a dish of either poached or fried fish (escabeche of chicken, rabbit or pork is common in Spain) marinated in an acidic mixture before serving, and to the marinade itself. The dish is common in Spain and Latin America, and popular in Catalonia, Portugal, Provence and the Philippines.”(Wikipedia, 2014) Escovitch can be served for lunch, dinner and is a great dish for entertaining as well.
There are many versions of this dish in the Caribbean. The version I created is not too acidic. I substituted White Wine Vinegar with Champagne Vinegar. The Champagne Vinegar gives the dish a more subtle taste and it is less acidic. The sauce also has a smoother texture because I added butter. The version I created and many other versions do not require any marinating time.
I would recommend making this dish with fresh fish only. You can possibly get away with frozen fish but the taste will not be the same. You have to remove any excess water from the frozen fish before frying and add more spices to the sauce.
I pan-fried the fish in butter. I used fresh Red Snapper and fresh Cod (Scrod) fish. I know Cod fish is not considered a firm fish but it cooks much quicker than other firm fish. You can also add hot peppers, crushed hot pepper flakes or even a great hot sauce. I know this may sound like an easy version, but when you don’t have time to marinate the fish, it works. And also I don’t always like to eat uncooked fish, so I prefer eating escovitch this way.
Hope you enjoy it as much as I do. And just for fun, try it with a good crusty bread.
- 2 medium white onions finely sliced
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- ½ cup baby carrots
- 1 green pepper chopped 2.5cm (1" pieces)
- 1 cup champagne vinegar
- 1 bouquet garni thyme, parsley, chives
- 2 bay leaves
- ½ teaspoon whole peppercorn
- 2 tablespoons kosher salt
- 1 cup water
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1.5 lb fish mixture of snapper, sea bass, cod or mullet - cleaned and cut into chunks
- ½ teaspoon hot pepper minced, hot pepper flakes or hot sauce - optional
- Heat 2 tablespoon oil in saucepan over medium heat. Add garlic, onion, peppers, carrots and champagne vinegar. Let ingredients cook for about 2 minutes stirring occasionally. Add bouquet garni, peppercorn, salt, hot pepper if using, water and let cook for 15 minutes uncovered on low heat.
- While veggies are cooling, add 1 tablespoon of butter in a non-stick pan, and pan fry fish until cooked but still firm. Do not overcrowd pan and turn fish to cook thoroughly. Remove and slice fish into smaller pieces or bite size if necessary, and set aside on a serving plate.
- Once veggies are cooked but still crunchy, add remaining butter and let mixture cook until sauce thickens a little. Remove from heat, remove bouquet garni and pour over fish. Serve hot or at room temperature.