Similar to the Spanish-Mediterranean ‘escabeche’ Escovitch Fish is a very popular Jamaican dish that can be found in abundance all over the island. This dish gets its name from the concoction of spicy vinegar laced veggies that is used to marinate fried fish before it is served. Escovitch Fish, like many other Jamaican dishes has is enjoyed around the world. In recent years escovitch has evolved to become a topping for other fried meats including chicken. Regardless of where you live if you can find a firm whole fish or filet you can make authentic Escovitch fish. Standard escovitch mix includes onions, carrots, allspice and hot pepper. Bell peppers chayote (cho-cho) and other veggies make a flavorful addition but they are purely optional.
Whether you use whole fish, filet or fish steaks a firm flesh is a must for making fried fish.
Whole fish: tilapia, snapper, sea bass, croaker, king fish or fish steaks
Fish filet/ steaks: tilapia, snapper, haddock, whiting, king fish
Fried (Escovitch) Fish Recipe
- 2 lb. whole fish or 8 Tilapia filets
- 2 tsp black pepper
- 2 tsp salt
- ½ tsp ground ginger optional
- oil for frying
- 1 lg. onion sliced
- 4 cloves garlic chopped
- 1 sm. bell pepper cut into thin strips
- 1 sm. carrot cut into thin strips
- 3 TB vinegar
- 6 allspice berries optional
- Slices of hot pepper optional
Wash the fish thoroughly and pat dry with paper towels. Season the fish with salt and black pepper.Cut slits in the sides of the fish. Rub with salt, black pepper and ginger. If using filets. Arrange filets in a pan. sprinkle ½ of the seasoning over filets. Flip over and repeat. Cover and marinade in refrigerator for 1 - 24 hours until ready for frying.
Heat oil in a skillet over medium heat. If you wish add 2 whole cloves of garlic to the hot oil for added flavor. Add fish to oil and fry until golden, 5 – 7 minutes on each side. Remove from oil and place in a shallow pan or dish.After all the fish is fried. Place vinegar and veggies in a saucepan over medium heat. Cover and sauté for about 3 minutes until veggies begin to cook. Pour over fish, add all spice berries. Cover with foil or other covering and let it marinade for at least 30 minutes before serving.
To prevent your fish from sticking to the pan, heat the oil for at least 2 minutes, until it is almost smoking before you add the fish