“Culinary at Home with Hector | Escovitch Fish Jamaican Style!” features another great Jamaican traditional dish. It’s spicy, colorful and bursting with flavor.
This dish is usually served with bammy, festival, bread, roast breadfruit, rice and peas. In other words, it goes well with just about anything. And, you can eat it any time of day. It’s truly Jamaican!
In addition, it can be just as much fun making it as eating it. So, let’s have some fun as we learn more about it.
Culinary Research | The Origin of Escovitch Fish
Where did this love relationship begin, especially for Jamaicans? Let’s find out!
The original Persian dish came from the Spanish variation escabeche. And, the Spanish first introduced it to Jamaica in the 16th century. The traditional spelling is escoveitch. However, escovitch is most common in search engines.
Other countries have their own variations in name and dishes including other meats. Similarly to using fresh fish, some cultures use canned fish also. Mackerel, sardines, and tuna are examples of these.
Refrigerating the escovitch fish overnight is the most enjoyable method. This brings out the rich flavor. However, not everyone refrigerates it overnight. But leftovers would be, if there happened to be any.
Escabeche or escoveitch fish is popular in many Latin American and other Spanish-speaking countries. Likewise, in other parts of the world such as the Philippines.
So, that’s all the brief history we need here.
Ingredients | Colorful and Flavorful!
Get your stuff together. Determine the quantities you need based on how many people you’re catering for. On the other hand, you may be thinking about how long you want it to serve you.
- Fish: Any fish of your choice will do. You will also determine how many you want to use.
- Carrots: These are a good combination with onions and peppers in a pickle.
- Onions: They hold flavor very well.
- Garlic: You will appreciate its special flavor.
- Scotch Bonnet Pepper: This is a favorite. You can use another kind of hot pepper. But, you may want to stick to the scotch bonnet. Remove the seeds if you want less heat.
- Pimento (Allspice): Here’s another great ingredient used in pickles.
- Thyme: One more unique flavor.
- Bay Leaf: A single leaf may be all you need depending on how many fish you use.
- Bell Peppers: These are optional and add even more color. Try it with a variety of colors.
- Salt and Pepper: You can use these sparingly. Just enough to rub into the fish before frying. You may also add a small amount of salt to the pickle. However, don’t add salt to the pickle if you use soy sauce.
- Lemon or Lime: Citrus plays an important part in this dish. Use it to wash the fish or use a vinegar and water mixture.
- Vinegar: This is also a vital ingredient in pickles.
- Sugar: Add a little sweetness to complement the tart taste.
- Soy Sauce: This is optional, but a good flavor and replacement for the salt in the pickle.
- Cooking Oil: A little goes a long way. So, add some from the fried fish to the sauce.
Naturally, people will use their own variations beside what’s listed above. Feel free to individualize it to suit your taste.
Culinary Guidelines | Step by Step
Now you’re ready to start the process:
- Gather all your ingredients.
- First, wash and dry the fish thoroughly.
- Then, make a few slits in both sides of each.
- Rub salt and pepper inside the gut and on the outside of the fish. Make sure to get inside the slits you made in the sides.
- Set aside the fish, and prepare all other ingredients.
- Cut carrots into very thin strips or any other way you prefer.
- Slice onions into rings.
- Crush or dice garlic finely. But, feel free to use garlic powder if you don’t have the cloves.
- Then, cut scotch bonett peppers into quarters or rings.
- You’ll need a few pimento seeds.
- Separate thyme into sprigs.
- Use about a half cup of vinegar.
- And, one tablespoon of sugar may be enough.
- Finally, add two tablespoons of soy sauce, if desired.
- Fry the fish crisp on both sides.
- In the meantime, place all the other ingredients in a pot and simmer for about 5-7 minutes. Don’t overcook it.
- Place the fish in a dish.
- Then pour the sauteed ingredients over the fried fish.
- Cover and allow to sit for several hours to soak in the rich flavor.
The taste gets better the longer it sits. Enjoy with whatever side suits you.
Jamaican Side Dishes | What Are They?
Bammy: Grated cassava (yuca) makes this round side dish. It’s usually soaked in coconut milk and fried.
Festival: It’s almost like an elongated fried cornmeal dumpling with sugar added.
Roast Breadfuit: Sliced roasted mature breadfruit makes a good match for escovitch fish. It’s also a great choice when it’s fried afterwards.
Fried Ripe Plantain: This is a naturally sweet side dish that goes well with many Jamaican dishes.
Rice and Peas: This is more than a side dish. In fact, it’s almost a complete meal by itself. It’s rich in protein especially when it has a lot of peas in it.
Bread: You can use any bread. However, Jamaicans tend to love white hardo bread with any meal.
You could also come up with your own recommendation for a side dish with your escovitch fish.
Conclusion | Culinary Fish Dish
Escovitch, escoveitch, or escabeche fish has made its way around the world. However, Jamaica has owned it doing an excellent job in maintaining this tradition in the home, restaurants, and hotels.
And, don’t forget the vendors on the roadsides. It’s also common to see them on the beach selling to locals and tourists alike. That’s how it’s done in Jamaica, land we love!
There are several variations as with many cultural dishes. It has a familiar aroma despite alternative ingredients being used. And, even individuals who have low tolerance for spicy foods love it.
So, how do you personally make escovitch fish? Also, is it a tradition in your family or culture? We would like you to share with us if and how you like it.
I hope you found “Culinary at Home with Hector | Escovitch Fish Jamaican Style!” appealing to your literary and culinary taste buds. Please feel free to leave your questions and comments below.