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ESCOVITCH FISH!

The concept of ESCOVITCH has its origins in the Mediterranean, Escovitch is also popular in Portugal, in most Caribbean Islands and Central America and in Asia.


The concept of ESCOVITCH consists of using certain acidic additives, such as vinegar, lime or lemon juice to reflect a pickling flavor in certain foods.

In Jamaica and most Caribbean Islands, Central and South America-fish is generally used to prepare ESCOVITCH; however, research indicates that other foods such as chicken, rabbit and pork can also be pickled and served as ESCOVITCH.

The purpose of this blog post is to shed light on what have become an A-typical dish in Jamaican Cuisine, a staple and a go to dish for locals and visitors alike.

Therefore, regardless of the origin of Escovitch, we can all agree that it is a great dish, a cultural staple among Caribbean cooks and a taste that most people gravitate to; there is something distinctive and deeply significant in the taste of Escovitch, that undoubtedly says Caribbean Cuisine, at first bite.


ESCOVITCH FISH
Ingredients:
CAUTION: there are items listed in this recipe with indications of “divided portions”, please read the entire recipe, for a better understanding of the “divide”, before proceeding with the preparation.


Serves 4
4-6 Slices of fish (tilapia, king fish or tuna)
1⁄2 Cup white vinegar, any brand
1 Whole yellow onion, thinly sliced
1 Medium size red, green and yellow bell pepper, seeded, white flesh removed and cut into strips
6 Pimento berries (optional)
1 Medium size carrot, peel and cut into thin strips
4 Whole garlic cloves
1⁄4 Scotch Bonnet pepper, seeded and finely chopped (use gloves for this)
5 Ounces Canola oil, divided
4 Teaspoon sea salt, divided
5 Teaspoon black pepper, divided


METHOD

Rinse fish over cold water, several times and drain in a colander.

Pat dry the fish with paper towel, add ***3 teaspoons salt and ***4 teaspoon pepper, ***reserve 1 teaspoon of each and set aside. Rub the spices well over the fish until all sides are encrusted. Place the fish in the refrigerator to marinate for about 1 1⁄2 hours.

Meanwhile, combine the prepared vegetables, except the garlic, and set aside.

Heat a large cast iron pot, over medium-high heat for 5 minutes, add ***4 ounces oil and heat for 2 additional minutes, add the garlic cloves and cook for 30 seconds only, remove and discard the garlic cloves, the garlic is used to infuse the oil.

Add the fish slices in a single layer, cook until the fish is golden brown, about 3-4 minutes; cook on the other about 2 minutes-remove the fish to a deep dish, tent the dish with aluminum foil to keep the fish warm.

After all the fish slices are cooked, discard the oil, wipe the skillet dry with paper towel.
Return the skillet to the burner, over medium-high heat, ***add the remaining oil and heat for 2 minutes.

Add the vegetables, stir and fry for 3-4 minutes until the onions are translucent, add the vinegar, remaining salt and pepper, stir until the mixture starts to low boil, 2-3 minutes.

Remove the skillet from the burner, pour the hot marinade over the fish, cover and refrigerate the fish for a few hours.

Allow the fish to marinate for an entire day if possible, the longer the fish marinates, the better the flavor.

Escovitch is a room temperature item, but it is especially good when it is refrigerated.


BUEN PROVECHO!
Marlene Myrie
Chef, Cookbook Author

COOKBOOK:  Chef Marlene is Cooking with Flava: A Caribbean/Creole Concept 

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