In this tutorial we learn how to make the warm marinade called escabèche and create a beautiful and tasty cold starter: Mackerel escabèche.This particular marinade is used to “cook” fish fillets and meats (although using meat with an escabeche marinade is not as common) using a wine and vinegar based brine. A ‘must-know’ recipe for all cooking enthusiasts, it’s one of the most versatile warm marinades to ‘cook’ fish fillets with minimum effort. It’s also a forgiving ‘recipe’ in that you can play around with ingredients to create your own twist without compromising results. Adding this one recipe to your cooking toolkit will open up a treasure trove of creations using mackerel, sardines, red mullet and much more. My tip – don’t take shortcuts with the marinating time. It’s easy to tell yourself that overnight ‘will do’ but this will compromise flavors and the acid cooking process. So stick to 24 hours for best results.
Ingredients needed for this recipe:
- 400 grams of fish fillets
- 100 ml of olive oil
- 500 ml of white wine (Sauvigon blanc or muscadet wine)
- 50 ml of sherry vinegar
- 50 ml of apple cider vinegar
- 1 medium sized red onion (finely sliced)
- 1 small shallot (finely sliced)
- 50 grams of carrot (finely sliced)
- 1 garlic clove (sliced)
- 1 twig of thyme
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 teaspoon of crushed coriander seeds
- 1 teaspoon of salt
- 1 teaspoon of black pepper
- the Juice of half a lemon
For a stronger flavor try adding some saffron, star anise or cayenne pepper.
Prepare all the ingredients for the marinade:
- wash and peel and cut all of the vegetables, weigh all the liquids ( wine and vinegar and oil) crush the coriander seeds, cut your lemon and have your seasoning ready.
Prepare the marinade:
- put 50 ml of olive oil in a large sauce pan or skillet on medium heat and add in all the dry ingredients (coriander, peppercorns, thyme bay leaf) as well as the garlic.
- Leave those to cook in the oil for a few minutes.
- reduce to heat to low, add the carrots, onions and shallots and leave to cook gently for 3 to 4 minutes.
- add now the sherry and apple cider vinegar, rise the heat to high and bring to a gentle boil. once it boil leave to reduce for one minute.
- add now all of the wine. bring to the boil again and leave to boil gently for 2 minutes. then add the salt and lemon juice
- reduce now the heat to low and leave your marinade to simmer for 10 minutes. then turn the heat totally off.
Preparing your fish fillets:
- Depending on what you type of fish you bough, you may have to clean and trim the the fillets (removing unneeded pieces of skins and the end of the tail) to make them nice and tidy (check the video for and example using mackerel fillets)
- when you you fillets are cleaned, seasoned them with salt and pepper.
Sear the fish fillets:
- Add a bit of olive oil in a frying pan on a medium to high heat and sear each fillet skin side up for 30 seconds.
- When done put the fillets in the dish you will be using to marinate the dish (a baking dish or lasagna dish is good)
- Once all the fish fillets are nicely arranged in the dish, pour over all of the warm marinade. and using a spoon or fork make sure all the garnish is well distributed in your dish and covers all of the fillets equally (don’t have a pile of carrots and onions on one side of the dish and nothing on the other)
- place on top a few slices of lemon, and cover with a piece of baking paper, making sire it is directly in contact with the marinade ( that is to avoid anything drying up on the surface while this will be in the fridge)
Leave the fillets to marinate in the fridge:
- Now comes the waiting time. the fish fillets have to be place in the fridge to marinate for 24 hours. It is important to respect this as the flavors needs penetrate the fish and it also make sure your fillets gets “cooked” properly.
Serving the escabeche:
After 24 hours the fish fillets are to eat. when it comes to eating the fish fillets it is up to you to choose how to serve them. they go very well on a toasted tartine coated with creme fraiche for example they could be serve with a side of salad or any other ways you fancy.