A Classic Escabeche

Seared Fish with Marinade
Lew Robertson/Stockbyte/Getty Images
Prep: 24 hrs 45 mins
Cook: 25 mins
Total: 25 hrs 10 mins
Servings: 4 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
345 Calories
15g Fat
9g Carbs
29g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4
Amount per serving
Calories 345
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 15g 20%
Saturated Fat 2g 11%
Cholesterol 107mg 36%
Sodium 4119mg 179%
Total Carbohydrate 9g 3%
Dietary Fiber 2g 7%
Total Sugars 3g
Protein 29g
Vitamin C 29mg 147%
Calcium 105mg 8%
Iron 4mg 20%
Potassium 862mg 18%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Escabeche (es-kah-BECH-ay) is a classic Spanish recipe in which you sear meat or fish then marinate it in a vinegary sauce loaded with herbs and spices and serve it cold or at room temperature on a hot day. It works perfectly with fish, especially oily fish such as mackerel, jacksmelt, herring, or bonito, but you could use any thinly sliced fish.


  • 1/4 cup kosher salt

  • 4 cups water

  • 1 pound fish fillets, cut into 2- to 3-inch pieces

  • 1/4 cup olive oil

  • 2 cloves garlic

  • 1 hot chile pepper, cut in half

  • 4 bay leaves, divided

  • 1 large onion, sliced into half-moons

  • 1 teaspoon black peppercorns

  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds

  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves

  • 1 teaspoon coriander seed

  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano leaves

  • 1 cup fish broth, or chicken broth

  • 1 cup white wine

  • 1 cup white wine vinegar

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. Combine the cup salt with 4 cups of water, and stir to combine. Brine the fish in this mixture for 30 to 45 minutes.

  3. Heat the olive oil in a large pan, and add the mashed garlic cloves, chile, and 2 bay leaves. Cook these aromatics in the oil over medium heat until the garlic browns, about 4 to 6 minutes. Do not let the garlic burn. Remove the aromatics and discard.

  4. Turn the heat up to medium-high, and cook the fish. You want a good sear, so if the fish is not cooking hot enough, turn the heat all the way up to high. Sear each side of the fish for 1 to 3 minutes, depending on the thickness. You don't need to cook the fish all the way through.

  5. Remove the fish to cool. Add the slivered onion, lower the heat to medium and cook until translucent. Remove to cool.

  6. Add all the remaining ingredients to the pan, turn the heat up to high, and bring to a rolling boil. Reduce by half, turn off the heat, and let cool.

  7. When everything is at room temperature, pour the sauce into a container, and add the fish and onions. Store in the refrigerator overnight to let the flavors marry.

  8. Serve cool or at room temperature.


  • This fish will stay in good shape for a week or more so long as it is covered by the vinegar sauce.