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My Escabeche
My Escabeche
added by River Cottage Sea Fishing Handbook

Try adding your own blend of flavourings to the marinade. Spices such as cumin, coriander or allspice, and aromatic herbs like thyme or marjoram all work well. Orange zest could replace the lemon. Thinly sliced onion, carrot, celery or pepper can be added too: sauté them until soft in the fish frying pan before you add the marinade liquid. It’s sometimes nice to finish the dish, just before serving, with a sprinkling of a fresh herb, such as parsley or even mint. I’ll also add some thinly sliced raw onion and hot chilli – and maybe even very thinly cut carrot – right at the very end. The crunch and bite of the onion and chilli set against the sweet, crunchycoated softness of the fish fillets is enough to make you start writing sonnets.

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Prep time
  • 10 minutes
Cook Time
  • Various
  • 6
  • Olive or rapeseed oil, for frying
  • 12 fillets of mackerel or scad mackerel,
  • garfish or herring
  • For the marinade
  • 100ml cider or balsamic vinegar
  • 200ml apple juice
  • 1 hot red chilli, finely chopped
  • 2 shallots or garlic cloves, peeled
  • and chopped
  • A couple of bay leaves
  • Grated zest of 1 lemon
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
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Heat a thin layer of oil in a non-stick frying pan over a medium-high heat. Fry the fish fillets, in batches, for a couple of minutes each side, until lightly coloured and just cooked. Transfer to a large dish in which they will fit snugly in one layer.

Combine the vinegar and apple juice and add to the frying pan with the chilli,shallots, bay leaves and lemon zest. Heat until simmering, then cook for a couple of minutes, scraping up any crispy bits from the pan as you do so. Season well with salt and pepper. Pour this hot marinade over the warm fish fillets in their dish, to cover them completely.

Leave to cool, then chill for a few hours – or up to 24 hours – before bringing back to room temperature. Serve with lots of bread for mopping up the marinade.

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