Fish Escabeche – A Summer Appetizer With Spanish Roots

Last Monday we prepared some causa with shrimp escabeche appetizer which made us realize we hadn’t shared the recipe for fish escabeche yet. This cold fish dish is one of the most traditional in Lima, but unlike cebiche, it is cooked. The secret is to make it the night before, giving the flavors and textures the chance to mingle together and settle into their sweet spot.

The recipe of escabeche de pescado was brought to Lima by the Spanish, and the biggest difference between the 2 versions is probably found in the greater use of vinegar (in Spain), and of oil (in Peru). This is a smart way to preserve fish, but I’m not very brave when it comes this, so I probably wouldn’t eat it after more than a day or 2.

Make your escabeche with any white fish of your liking (I used sustainably fished halibut), or you can even do a vegetarian version with lima beans, which is absolutely delicious and very healthy (recipe coming soon).

Fish Escabeche
Recipe type: Appetizer
Cuisine: Peruvian - Spanish
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 2
  • 2 halibut fillets
  • Salt and pepper
  • ½ teaspoon cumin
  • ½ cup flour
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • ½ red onion, cut in thick slices or chunks
  • 1 garlic clove, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons aji amarillo paste
  • 2 tablespoons vinegar
  • 1 hard boiled egg
  • 4 black olives
  • 2 lettuce leaves
  1. Season the fish with salt, pepper and cumin, and pass through the flour.
  2. Heat half the olive oil in a frying pan over medium heat. Fry the fish on both sides, until golden (abour 3-5 minutes). Reserve.
  3. Bring water to a boil in a small saucepan, and blanch the onion for 1 minute. Drain.
  4. Heat the rest of the oil in a small sautee pan over medium heat. Sautee the garlic and chili paste for 2-3 minutes. Then add the onion, and vinegar, and season with salt and pepper. Simmer for about 5 minutes (Add 2-4 tablespoons water if it dries up).
  5. Cover the fish with the onion mixture, put in a sealed container, and leave it in the fridge for as long as possible (overnight is best).
  6. Serve over a lettuce leave, and decorate with hard boiled egg slices, and black olives.

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