Escovitch Fish (Jamaican Fried Fish)

Escovitch Fish (fried fish marinated with pickled vegetables) , is a very popular Jamaican dish that is loved  by fish eaters all over the world. The traditional Jamaican variety of this dish calls for frying a firm, hearty whole fish (tilapia, snapper, sea bass, croaker, etc.) until dry/ hard. The hot fried fish is combined with the escovitch seasoning, recipe below, and marinated before serving. Keep reading for the complete recipe.

fried croaker II

If you do not care for whole fish use the filet of any of the fish listed above. Season and fry according to the recipe below. Combine with escovitch seasoning and marinade. Keep reading for the complete recipe.
escovitch filet II

2 pounds whole fish or 8 Tilapia filets
2 teaspoons black pepper
2 teaspoons salt
½ teaspoon ground ginger, optional
oil for deep frying
1 medium onion, sliced
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 small red bell pepper, cut into strips
1 small carrot, cut into thin strips
1 small green bell pepper, cut into strips
3Tablespoon vinegar
6 allspice berries, optional
Slices of habanero/ scotch bonnet pepper, optional

Rinse and pat fish dry. Season with salt, black pepper and ginger. let it mariande for at least 1 hour. If you’re using fish filets.  Arrange filets on a plate/pan. sprinkle ½ of the dry seasoning over filets. flip over and repeat process. Cover and place in the refrigerator to marinade.

seasoned fish filets II

If you’re using whole fish. After washing and drying the fish, season fish inside and out with dry seasoning. Cover and marinade in refrigerator until ready for frying.

seasoned croakers II

 Heat oil in a medium skillet. If you wish add 2 whole cloves of garlic to the hot oil for added flavor . Add fish to oil and fry until golden, 5 – 7 minutes on each side. Remove from oil and place in a shallow pan or dish.

 frying fish

Notice the clear bubbles in the pictures above and below?
Using a small amount of oil in a shallow non-stick pan like a cast iron skillet reduces the amount of oil you use. It also allows you use fresh/ clean oil each time you fry resulting in a delicious flavor everytime and minimum waste.
Cast Iron Skillet II

After all the fish is fried.
Over medium heat, add vinegar and veggies to a saucepan or skillet. Cover and saute for about 5 minutes until veggies begin to cook. Pour over fish, add all spice berries. Cover with foil or other covering and let it marinade for at least 30 minutes before serving.
steaming veggies II  DSC02625
The ingredients in escovitch seasoning can vary but there are 4 staple ingredients (Onions, vinegar, hot pepper and carrots) allspice and bell peppers are more commonly used than not, in most preparations.  
*For optimum flavor marinade fish for 24 hours before serving. *


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4 thoughts on “Escovitch Fish (Jamaican Fried Fish)

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