A fried fish dish doused with a pickled sauce with vegetables.
I don't eat fish often enough, but when I do I dive into some escovitch fish. This Jamaican fish dish is extremely popular and everyone has their unique twist to the dish. The fish is fried and then covered in a sea of vegetables that have been simmered in a vinegar mix. And did I mention that it's spicy? The added pepper gives the fish a great flavor and leaves you with a runny nose as you eat but not wanting to stop.
Now normally when I get this from the restaurants, they give you a whole fish fried. But I opted to use slices of fish here. Tilapia or kingfish are great options. The process really doesn't change for whatever type of fish you are using.
The most important thing for me with fish is to make sure it's clean and not smelling "fresh". So you will need to get a lot of limes and soak the fish in it. I normally leave the fish (whole and sliced) covered in water and squeeze the juice of about three limes into the water and leave the lime in there as it soaks. I also add onion powder and black pepper. This will sit for about 10 minutes
Once your fish has been soaked out, you're ready to season up. I live by my green seasoning. It's always on hand. I think all Caribbean households have green seasoning by the bottle load in their fridge. It's so easy to just grab and pour into whatever meat or sauce your making. If you do not have green seasoning, no fear. You are free to season the fish however you usually season your meat. I also like to let my seasoned meat sit a little so that it can marinate
A golden brown fried fish is what we want our fish to look like. When I am ready to flour the fish I try to take off any excess liquid (seasoning or water that may have sprung from the fish sitting). This makes sure there are no clumps of flour on the fish and when it is put into the hot oil that it fries evenly.
Cause this fish being fried to perfection is important. The fish being undercooked or overcooked and burnt can ruin the meal easily. Once golden brown, turn and fry on the other side. Once all the fish is done, pop them in the oven on a low temp so that it stays warm while we get the veggies ready.
Now this is where the recipe can be adjusted to your liking. What veggies are your favorite? You are free to use them here. Just make sure they can stand up to a little cooking. We are not trying to get a vegetable that wilts quickly. I also love to have some crunchy veggies.
I opted for bell peppers and carrots. I love carrots in this dish. Onions, chayote (aka christophene or cho cho) are also great additions. And did I mention, you MUST have hot pepper here? Yes grab your hot pepper of any kind and get it ready. Cut it up as small as you can. I used my usual scotch bonnet WITH the seeds. Too hot? easily just avoid using the seeds and the membrane of the pepper
These vegetables are sauteed and simmered in a sauce of water and vinegar and some salt. Oh, don't forget the bay leaf and thyme.
Now it's time to merge the two components together. Layer the veggies on top of the fish and pour the sauce all over. It's not to be a saucy dish like say the brown stew fish. The sauce should be enough to be soaked up into the fish so that it's moist but not drowning in liquid. In fact, I usually do not have any type of gravy in the dish with the fish at the end.
Some people like to leave the fish to cool to room temperature. This gives the fish some more time to soak in the vinegar sauce. It tastes good at room temperature but I personally like to eat it warm.
Warm fried fish with these spicy and crunchy veggies, especially the carrots. Crunchy carrots with slight pepper. Did I mention I loooove the carrots?
Traditionally escovitch fish is eaten with bammy or fried dumplings, but there are no rules for food. It can be easily paired with any side: mashed potatoes, rice and peas, fried plantains or even hard dough bread. You are free to choose whatever side you like.
So excuse me while I sniffle through eating up this leftover fish!
Escovitch Fish Jamaican Style
Prep Time: 30 mins
Cook Time: 30 mins
Keywords: fry entree fish Easter July 4th Caribbean
Ingredients (Serves 4)
- 3 limes
- 4 slices of fish about 1.5" thick
- 4 tbsp green seasoning
- 1 cup flour (you may need more)
- 1 tbsp salt
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 3 carrots, julienned
- 1 red bell pepper, julienned
- 1 green bell pepper, julienned
- 2 sprigs thyme
- 1 hot pepper
- 2 bay leaves
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- A small piece of ginger grated
- 1/2 cup vinegar
- 1 cup water
- 1 onion (optional)
- 1 chayote (optional)
Wash and clean fish
Place fish in a large bowl with enough water to cover fish
Squeeze juice of limes into water and add squeezed limes into water
Add salt and onion powder and leave to soak for 10 minutes
Heat oven to 150 degrees
Remove fish from water and season with green seasoning (or can easily be seasoned with salt, black pepper)
Heat a dutch pot with enough oil to cover bottom of pan
In a shallow dish, place flour, salt, and black pepper
Remove any excess liquid from on fish and cover fish with flour mixture
When oil is hot, fry fish to a golden brown on each side
Place fried fish in heated ovenFor Vegetables
Add oil to bottom of pot
Saute garlic, ginger, and bay leaf
Add veggies (peppers, carrots and any other veggies you are using)
Saute for about 2 minutes
Add water and thyme and leave to simmer for about 10 minutes so that liquid reduces
Add vinegar and salt to taste
Remove fish from oven and top with vegetables and sauce
Remove fish from oven and top with vegetables and sauce
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