Pickled Fish (Escabeche)

This Spanish {and Provencal) dish is probably the ancestor of the Mexican Ceviche and is used extensively throughout the Mediterranean countries to preserve fish when it is plentiful and cheap. Any type of fish fillet may he used, such as mackerel, cod, halibut or haddock, or even whole small fish such as red mullet.


serves 4
3 Tbs Flour
1 1/2 tsp Salt
700 g - 1 kg (1 1/2 - 2 lb) White fish fillets
150 ml (5 fl oz) 5/8 cup Olive oil
2 Large onions, sliced
1 Red pepper, pith and seeds removed and cut into strips
2 Garlic cloves, chopped
1 Fresh red chilli, chopped
3 Bay leaves
1/4 tsp Black peppercorns
300 ml (10 fl oz) 1 1/4 cups Red wine vinegar


1. Combine the flour and 1 teaspoon of salt on a plate. Coat the fish pieces in the flour, shaking off any excess.

2. Heat 75 ml (3 fl oz) (3/8 cup) of oil in a large frying-pan. Add the fish and fry for 4 to 5 minutes on each side, or until they are golden brown and flake easily. Transfer the fish to kitchen towels to drain.

3. Pour off the oil and rinse out the pan. Pour the remaining oil into the pan and heat. Add the onions and fry until they are soft. Stir in the pepper, garlic, chilli, bay leaves, remaining salt, the peppercorns and vinegar and bring to the boil. Cook for 2 minutes.

4. Arrange the fish in an earthenware or heatproof glass dish. Pour the mixture over the fish and cover the dish with a lid or foil. Allow to cool to room temperature, then transfer the dish to the refrigerator. Leave to marinate for 2 to 3 days. Serve straight from the dish.

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