Tuesday, 30 December 2014

Greedy Girl Eats: Homemade escovitch fish

"Greedy Girl Eats"

What is Escovitch fish? It’s a well-seasoned fish fried crispy and topped with a spicy pickle sauce. The sauce is full of vinegar, onions, pimento, hot peppers and carrots. This sauce can be made and left to soak for months, even years and still be delicious. The longer it soaks the better the flavor. I have spent the last month at various restaurants in Jamaica, testing their versions. I think I have come up with a home-made version that will rival the best seaside fish joint in Jamaica.

One thing I learned while visiting the different establishments is that the type of heat used matters. Most of the places that achieved a crispy exterior with a soft and tender inside used wood / coal fire. They had large wide cast iron or Dutch pots to deep fry the fish with the oil on a rolling boil. Right away I knew that frying on my inside burner was not going to cut it. I even contemplated using my deep fryer but then I remembered (as most Jamaicans will agree) that food cooked on a coal fire taste way better.  So I had to make up a small coal fire at home. 

I used charcoal briquettes,not the traditional wood or coal because that's all I had. Placed my Dutch pot on top with a fair amount of oil in it and went to town. As for the pickle crispy and crunch beats soggy. So larger cuts of onion quickly sautéed in the vinegar mixture and set aside was all this fish needed to be perfect. This is a really simple and delicious way to enjoy fish. And you should try it.

Ingredients (printable recipe)

Fish seasoning
Because fish varies by size different sizes require different portions of salt and black pepper. Season the outsides, in the cut and inside the head
  • Large- 1lb and up ( 1 tablespoon salt 3/4 teaspoon black pepper)
  • Medium- 1/2 to 3/4 lb (1 teaspoon salt 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • Small- Less than 1/2 lb  (1/2 teaspoon salt 1/4 teaspoon black pepper) 

3 onions
2 scotch bonnet peppers
1 tablespoon allspice berries
1 small carrot
2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon sugar
3 teaspoon vinegar
1/4 cup water


  • Set up your coal fire and place the pot with oil to heat to 400 degree minimum
  • Slice the fish on both sides. Season with salt and black pepper in the slice, skin and inside the head
  • Prepare thick onion slices, slice the pepper, and shred the carrots
  • Once the oil is hot place the fish in the hot oil and fry for about 5 minutes or until it is golden brown and crispy. remove from the oil and drain. 
  • Allow the oil to reheat then continue frying until all the fish is done.
  • One all the fish is fried discard the oil reserving about 2 tablespoons.
  • Place the pot back on the coal fire and saute the onions, carrots, peppers, salt and sugar
  • After a minute of sauteing add the allspice, vinegar and water allow it to simmer for another three minutes
  • Top the fish with this pickle mixture and serve.  

Greedy tips:

  • Use enough oil to cover (or almost cover) the fish 
  • Make sure to use a thermometer. Don't put the fish in the oil if it is not above 400 degrees. So between each batch make sure to allow the oil temperature to rise before adding. 
  • If you don’t have the time to set up an outside wood fire, a deep fryer or pan frying at a really high heat will suffice just make sure the oil is as hot as possible.  
  • The pickle can be set aside once sealed for a very long time. If you intend to open it periodically and use it store in the refrigerator. If you plan on sealing it for months it can be left at room temperature.

In case you missed it…

Make sure to visit these restaurants and see who you rate the best!

Honorable mention: Great pickle


 Honorable mention: Great pickle

Honorable mention: Great seasoning

Honorable mention: Great seasoning

BEST TEXTURE (delicate and tender)


Whitebones seafood restaurant 
Honorable mention: Great seasoning


Honorable mention: Great seasoning



Xoxo Greedygirl

No comments:

Post a Comment