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Pacific Black Cod Escabeche

Pacific Black Cod Escabeche

Black cod fillets marinated in a vinegar oil mixture and served as a classic escabeche.

Photography Credit:Elise Bauer

Escabeche (es-kah-BECH-ay) is a dish of Spanish origin in which seared meat or fish is marinated in an acidic marinade.

Fish escabeche is similar to ceviche, but the fish is cooked a bit first. Because of the acidity of the marinade, the dish lends itself to fatty fish, especially mackerel.

When I first had this version of escabeche, prepared by Chef Sean Bernal in the Bahamas, it was with a wahoo fish, and all I could think of was how good it would taste with mackerel.

Unfortunately for me I haven’t been able to find any fresh mackerel (or herring, or sardines for that matter) in Sacramento. The fishmonger at Whole Foods recommended pacific black cod (also known as sablefish) as a substitute because it is fairly oily (and packed with omega 3s).

Pacific black cod may seem a little delicate for the task, but you know what? When I prepared it, it firmed up beautifully overnight.

I also tried it with tuna, but the tuna ended up being too steak-y for the dish, it didn’t flake like the black cod.

Because of the acidity, you can’t eat too much of the escabeche at once. It does work great though, for quick fish tacos. Just take a basic cheese taco and add a bit of the fish, peppers and onions. Normally you wouldn’t use melted cheddar in a fish taco, but because the cheese cuts through the acidity, it works.

The escabeche reminds me a bit of pickled herring, a staple in Norwegian buffets and Minnesota pantries, and also a bit of mackerel sushi, for those of you sushi lovers.

Do you have a favorite escabeche recipe? or even pickled herring? If so, please let us know about it in the comments.

Pacific Black Cod Escabeche Recipe

You can eat the escabeche a few hours after you prepare it, but the it will be better if you let it marinate for a day. The fish will firm up and have a better texture.

Regarding the habanero, the original recipe called for a scotch bonnet, which is hard to find out here. One might think that a whole habanero would make the dish too spicy, but it was actually the perfect amount for this dish.

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • 2-3 red, yellow, and green bell peppers, seeded and julienned
  • 1 white onion, julienned
  • 1 carrot, julienned
  • 1 habanero or scotch bonnet chili, seeded and minced
  • 1 cup white or cider vinegar
  • 3/4 pound pacific black cod (sablefish) fillets, pin bones removed, cut into 4 inch pieces
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1/2 cup flour for dredging
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 6 allspice berries

Method

1 Make the escabeche vegetable vinegar mix: Heat 1/2 cup olive oil in a large sauté pan on medium high heat (do not be tempted to cut back on this amount of oil, it is needed for the marinade). Sauté the bell peppers, onion, carrot and chili until softened, 5-10 minutes. Stir in vinegar, bay leaf, allspice berries, remove from heat, and set aside.

2 Partially cook the fish fillets: Pat the fish fillets dry with a paper towel and sprinkle them on both sides with salt and pepper. Place flour on a plate and dredge the fillets in the flour on both sides.

Heat remaining 1/4 cup of oil a frying pan on high heat. When the oil is hot (but not smoking), add the fish fillets to the pan. Cook on one side for 1-2 minutes, then flip and cook the other side for 1-2 minutes.

Remove the fish from the pan when they are only half-cooked through, as the vinegar in the marinade will finish the cooking process.

3 Cover fish with vegetable vinegar mixture: Place the partially cooked fish fillets in a non-reactive dish, such as a ceramic or pyrex casserole dish. Spoon the vinegar vegetable mix over and around the fish. Refrigerate overnight.

The fish will finish "cooking" in the acidic marinade and will become firmer.

4 Serve: Bring to room temperature before serving.

Serve on a small plate, or on a crostini for an appetizer. Or add to a cheese taco (cheddar in softened corn tortilla) for a quick fish taco.

Will last several days in the refrigerator.

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Black cod recipes

Sometimes known as sablefish, black cod – native to Canadian and Alaskan waters – is a true delicacy. Not actually of the cod species, the fish is famed for its snow white flesh, succulent flavour and rich, velvety texture, earning it the nickname ‘butterfish’. From baked fish to seafood pasta this collection of black cod recipes offers plenty of inspiration for cooking what is certain to become your new favourite fish.

The texture and taste of black cod works well with strong, even potent flavours such as miso, onion and citrus. Dave Watts’ Miso-marinated black cod recipe is packed with with Japanese ingredients, while Pascal Aussignac's Baked black cod recipe is paired with the bold flavours of verjuice and elderflower. For a fantastic seafood pasta recipe try Luke Holder's Macadamia-crusted black cod, where plump cod fillet is served with orzo pasta and fresh salsa verde.


Grilled Cod Escabeche: One of Spain’s Culinary Gifts to the World


Cod is a culinary chameleon. It can be as pedestrian as a fish-and-chip dinner or as cosmopolitan as escabeche, a marinated dish that is one of Spain’s culinary gifts to the world. Instead of marinating the fish before cooking, the fish is marinated afterward, when the cod’s cells have swelled from heat and become more receptive to absorbing a spicy lemon, lime, and orange marinade. What a great make-ahead dish for a party.

Grill a few cumin-rubbed fillets, soak the cooked fish in marinade, then serve it up to 2 days later, after the cod’s large flakes have absorbed as much marinade as they can possibly hold. Although completely unnecessary, a spoonful of creamy Caper Mayonnaise (recipe follows) makes this dish taste doubly great.

GRILLED COD ESCABECHE
Makes:
4 main-dish or 8 appetizer servings

Ingredients
1½ cups Adobo Marinade (recipe follows)
½ cup sliced pimento-stuffed Spanish green olives
¼ cup finely chopped red onion
¼ cup finely chopped red bell pepper
1 large jalapeño chile pepper, seeded and finely chopped
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon sugar
¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
4 cod fillets (about 6 ounces each)
1 tablespoon olive oil
¼ cup Orange-Cumin Rub (recipe follows)

Instructions

  1. Combine the marinade, olives, onion, bell pepper, jalapeño pepper, vinegar, sugar, and red pepper flakes in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat and boil for 1 minute. Remove from the heat and set aside.
  2. Light a grill for direct medium-high heat, about 425ºF. Preheat a fish basket on the grill.
  3. Coat the fish with olive oil, and then sprinkle the rub all over it. Brush the grill grate and coat the grate and the hot fish basket generously with oil. Put the fillets in the basket and the basket on the grill, directly over the heat. Cover and grill until the fish looks opaque on the surface, but is still filmy and moist in the center (an internal temperature of 130ºF), 2 to 3 minutes per side. Transfer the fillets to a large, shallow, nonreactive dish such as a 13-by-9-inch baking dish. Pour the marinade mixture over the fish and let cool to room temperature. Cover and refrigerate for at least 6 hours or up to 2 days. Return to room temperature before serving.

Keep it Simple: Replace the orange-cumin rub with store-bought Mexican chili powder or Cajun seasoning.

ADOBO MARINADE
Best with beef, veal, pork, lamb, poultry
Makes: about 1½ cups

Ingredients
Juice of 1 lemon
Juice of 1 lime
¼ cup orange juice
¼ cup tomato sauce
¼ cup red wine
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons mild hot pepper sauce, such as Frank’s
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons smoked paprika
1 teaspoon coarse salt

Instructions
Mix everything together and use as directed in a recipe.

ORANGE-CUMIN RUB
Best with chicken, turkey, shellfish, fish
Makes: about ¼ cup

Ingredients
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon paprika
1 tablespoon ground dried orange peel
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground chipotle chile
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
½ teaspoon sugar

Instructions
Mix everything together. Store in a tightly closed container for up to 1 month.

Variations:
Cumin-Oregano Rub: (Best with pork, chicken, turkey.) Omit the orange peel and replace the chipotle chile with 2 teaspoons dried oregano leaves.

Cumin-Thyme Rub: (Best with beef, veal, pork, chicken, turkey, shellfish, fish.) Omit the orange peel and replace the chipotle chile with 2 teaspoons dried thyme leaves. Add 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander and 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon.

Coarse Cumin Rub: (Best with beef, veal, pork, chicken, turkey, game meats.) Replace the ground cumin with 1 tablespoon whole cumin seeds. Replace the orange peel and chipotle chile with 1 teaspoon whole coriander seeds and 1 teaspoon whole cardamom seeds (removed from the green pods).

POURABLE HERBED MAYONNAISE
Best with beef carpaccio or tartare, shellfish, fish
Makes: about 1¼ cups

Ingredients
1 large fresh egg
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
Pinch of ground white or black pepper
1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 to 4 tablespoons whole milk
2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh tarragon
2 to 4 tablespoons whole milk

Instructions

  1. Combine the egg, lemon juice, mustard, salt, pepper, and ¼ cup of the oil in a food processor. Process for a few seconds and then, with the machine running, gradually add the remaining oil in a thin, steady steam. Scrape down the sides and process until thickened and smooth, 10 to 15 seconds.
  2. Scrape into a bowl and stir in the parsley, tarragon, and just enough milk to make the sauce pourable. Cover and refrigerate for up to 1 week.

Variations:
Blender Mayonnaise: (Best with shellfish, fish.) Omit the milk, parsley, and tarragon.

Caper Mayonnaise: (Best with shellfish and fish.) Omit the milk. Add 1½ tablespoons small drained capers (chop them if large) and 3 minced garlic cloves along with the herbs.

Tartar Sauce: (Best with shellfish and fish.) Make the Caper Mayonnaise and add 2 tablespoons minced fresh dill or sweet pickles.


Pacific Black Cod Escabeche Recipe

You can eat the escabeche a few hours after you prepare it, but the it will be better if you let it marinate for a day. The fish will firm up and have a better texture. Regarding the habanero, the original recipe called for a scotch bonnet, which is hard to find out here. One might think that a whole habanero would make the dish too spicy, but it was actually the perfect amount for this dish.

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup olive oil, divided
  • 2-3 red, yellow, and green bell peppers, seeded and julienned
  • 1 white onion, julienned
  • 1 carrot, julienned
  • 1 habanero or scotch bonnet chili, seeded and minced
  • 1 cup white or cider vinegar
  • 3/4 pound pacific black cod (sablefish) fillets, pin bones removed, cut into 4 inch pieces
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1/2 cup flour for dredging
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 6 allspice berries

Method

1 Heat 1/2 cup olive oil in a large sauté pan on medium high heat (do not be tempted to cut back on this amount of oil, it is needed for the marinade). Sauté the bell peppers, onion, carrot and chili until softened, 5-10 minutes. Stir in vinegar, remove from heat, and set aside.

2 Pat the fish fillets dry with a paper towel and sprinkle them on both sides with salt and pepper. Place flour on a plate and dredge the fillets in the flour on both sides. Heat remaining 1/4 cup of oil a frying pan on high heat. When the oil is hot (but not smoking), add the fish fillets to the pan. Cook on one side for 1-2 minutes, then flip and cook the other side for 1-2 minutes. Remove the fish from the pan when they are only half-cooked through, as the vinegar in the marinade will finish the cooking process.

3 Place the partially cooked fish fillets in a non-reactive dish, such as a ceramic or pyrex casserole dish. Spoon the vinegar vegetable mix over and around the fish. Refrigerate overnight. The fish will finish "cooking" in the acidic marinade and will become firmer. Bring to room temperature before serving.

Serve on a small plate, or on a crostini for an appetizer. Or add to a cheese taco (cheddar in softened corn tortilla) for a quick fish taco.


Bacalhau Com Natase Espinafres

This is one of the most popular ways to prepare codfish in Portugal. Wine suggestion: a full-bodied red wine. The intensity of the flavors of the dish needs a strong balance. Guadalupe Red is an excellent wine to pair with this dish.

Ingredients

  • 500 g salted codfish
  • 750 g freshly fried potatoes (shoestring cut)
  • 6 eggs
  • 150 ml white wine
  • 3 medium onions
  • 3 tsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 6 garlic cloves
  • 2 tsp chopped parsley
  • Salt
  • Black pepper
  • Nutmeg
  • 12-18 black olives (not chopped)

Instructions

  1. Fry potatoes until golden. Do not brown. Drain.
  2. Bring water to a boil and add the codfish cook for 7-10 minutes. Usually, when you start smelling the fish, it is time to take it out. Leave to cool.
  3. Flake fish.
  4. Drizzle pan with olive oil.
  5. Add bay leaves and onion. Cook until golden but not caramelized.
  6. Add garlic.
  7. Two minutes later, add fish.
  8. Season with pepper and nutmeg.
  9. Cook for 3 minutes, mixing gently and not allowing it to stick to the bottom of the pan.
  10. Add shoestring fried potatoes.
  11. Add wine.
  12. Add half of the olives and half of the parsley, the whole time mixing gently.
  13. Add eggs over low fire.
  14. Stop cooking while eggs are still slightly wet.
  15. Garnish with remaining olives and parsley.
  16. Serve immediately.

March 17, 2013 by Reggie Aspiras


  • 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 mashed garlic cloves
  • 1 hot chili (cut in half)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 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 or chicken broth
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 1 cup white wine vinegar
  • 2 more bay leaves

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

Heat the olive oil in a large pan, and add the mashed garlic cloves, chili, 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.

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.

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

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.

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.


Ingredients

  1. HEALTH BENEFITS
    1. Like most fish, sablefish is a great source of protein, B vitamins (especially niacin and B12), and minerals (notably selenium). It shines brightest, however, in fat content: A 5-ounce serving provides about 3 grams of heart-healthy omega-3s, namely the powerful pair of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA). Harvested from relatively pure waters, sablefish also has very low levels of mercury, PCBs, and dioxins compared with many other fish.
    1. Choose Alaskan or Canadian sablefish, if possible, which tend to be more sustainably harvested than sablefish from West Coast fisheries. Look for fillets or steaks with firm, moist flesh and little to no fishy smell. Sablefish freezes well, and smoked sablefish has excellent flavor you can buy both kinds at specialty fish shops and online.
    1. Eat fresh sablefish the same day you buy it the high oil content makes this fish especially prone to spoilage. Frozen fish should be thawed in the refrigerator, not only for safety but because thawing too quickly can compromise texture.
    1. To grill, rub fillet all over with oil, and season with salt and pepper. Cook over medium heat until fish flakes with a fork and is opaque throughout, 3 to 4 minutes per side.
    1. Sablefish swim at depths as great as 9,800 feet and are among the longest-living species of fish the oldest documented one was 94 years old.
    1. Sablefish in Tomato-Saffron Stew p.167
    2. Hoisin-Glazed Sablefish with Bok Choy p.216
    3. Sablefish en Papillote with Shiitake Mushrooms and Orange p.219

    Ingredients

    • For the Aioli:
    • 1 egg yolk
    • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard (we love Edmond Fallot)
    • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
    • ½ teaspoon grated lemon zest
    • 1 large garlic clove, grated or finely minced
    • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
    • ¼ teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
    • ¼ cup canola oil
    • ¼ cup olive oil
    • For the Fish:
    • 4 (8 ounce) pieces skin-on sablefish (black cod)
    • 1 tablespoon olive oil
    • Salt and pepper, to taste
    • For the Greens:
    • 2 bunches of Swiss chard or any green vegetable, cut in 2-inch pieces
    • 3 tablespoons olive oil
    • 2 garlic cloves, minced
    • ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
    • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
    • Salt and pepper, to taste

    Recipe Summary

    • 2 tablespoons butter, softened
    • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
    • 1 teaspoon minced fresh chives
    • 2 teaspoons capers
    • 1 pound fingerling potatoes, halved
    • 2 garlic cloves, minced
    • ¼ teaspoon salt
    • ¼ teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
    • 2 teaspoons olive oil, divided
    • 4 bacon slices
    • 1 (12-ounce) black cod fillet (about 1 to 1 1/2 inches thick)
    • Garnish: fresh chives

    Preheat oven to 400°.Combine first 4 ingredients in a small bowl set aside.

    Microwave potatoes in a large glass bowl covered with plastic wrap on HIGH 4 minutes. Drain potatoes, if necessary, and stir in garlic, salt, pepper, and 1 teaspoon olive oil. Set aside.

    Cook bacon in a large cast iron or ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat until crisp remove bacon, and drain on paper towels, reserving 1 teaspoon drippings in skillet. Add remaining 1 teaspoon olive oil to skillet over medium-high heat add cod fillet, and cook 1 minute on each side.

    Spoon reserved potatoes around cod bake 3 minutes.

    Remove from oven, and spread reserved butter mixture over fish. Return to oven bake 5 more minutes or just until fish flakes with a fork and is opaque in the center. Sprinkle with cooked bacon garnish, if desired. Serve immediately.


    A typical escabeche recipe

    To give you an idea of the typical ingredient proportions, here is an example of a basic escabeches that would be suitable for 1 chicken: 

    Ingredients

    • 1 cup red or white wine vinegar
    • 1 cup olive oil
    • 1/2 cup dry white wine
    • 1/2 cup water
    • 1 yellow onion, thinly sliced
    • 4 cloves garlic, halved
    • 10 black peppercorns
    • 1 teaspoon sweet pimenton
    • 2 bay leaves
    • 1 rosemary sprig
    • 1 teaspoon salt
    • 1 teaspoon sugar
    • 1 medium chicken

    Preparation

    Combine the liquids and the spices into a marinade, stirring well to mix the flavours.

    Cut the chicken into serving pieces, brown them in a skillet, add the marinade, and simmer over low heat for 30 minutes or so until cooked through.

    Let the food cool completely in the escabeche brine and then store in the brine at cool room temperature for a day or so or in the refrigerator for up to a week.

    If you are cooking small items, such as sardines, mussels, or bite-sized chunks of chicken,  reduce the cooking time to 10 minutes. If you are preparing large pieces, such a whole partridge, increase the cooking time to 1 or 1 1/2 hours. 


    • 1 cup oil for frying
    • 1 (4 ounce) whole tilapia, cleaned and scaled
    • salt to taste
    • 3 tablespoons olive oil
    • 1 onion, chopped
    • 2 cloves garlic, minced
    • 1 red bell pepper, cut into chunks
    • 1 (1 inch) piece ginger, thinly sliced crosswise, or to taste
    • 1 ¼ cups water
    • 1 cup distilled white vinegar
    • 5 tablespoons white sugar
    • salt and ground black pepper to taste
    • 1 tablespoon cornstarch

    Heat oil in a deep-fryer or large saucepan to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).

    Pat tilapia dry with a paper towel. Cut 2 to 3 slits on either side of the fish. Sprinkle salt on top. Fry in the hot oil until browned, about 2 minutes per side.

    Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Saute onion and garlic until onion is translucent, about 5 minutes. Add red bell pepper and ginger saute until fragrant, about 2 minutes.

    Mix water, vinegar, and sugar together in a bowl. Pour into the onion mixture in the skillet. Cover and bring to a boil. Cook until slightly reduced, about 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Add cornstarch. Boil, stirring often, until sauce is thickened, about 5 minutes. Pour sauce over the fish.


    Watch the video: How to Filet a Halibut (December 2021).