Red Snapper Escabeche

6 Serves

Escabeche, a classic Latin dish, is made by first sauteing, then marinating any firm white fish overnight in a flavorful vinaigrette.


  • 6 red snapper fillets (about 2 pounds total), skin removed

  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil

  • 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced

  • 8 large shallots (about 10 ounces), sliced into thin rings

  • 2 dried bay leaves

  • 3 peppers, preferably 1 yellow, 1 red, and 1 orange, seeded and cut into thin strips

  • cup sherry vinegar

  • 1 cup dry white wine

  • 5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

  • ½ teaspoon crushed black peppercorns

  • 2 whole cloves

  • 1 head Bibb lettuce

  • 1 head red-leaf lettuce

  • ½ cup loosely packed fresh tarragon

  • ½ cup loosely packed fresh flat-leaf parsley

  • 1 cup loosely packed watercress

  • 1 pound young string beans, or haricots verts, stems removed


  1. Season both sides of fillets with salt and pepper, and cut in half lengthwise. Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a large nonstick saute pan over medium-high heat. Add half the fish in one uncrowded layer. Cook for 2 1/2 minutes on each side, or until fish is crisp and brown around the edges but not cooked through. Transfer to a plate to cool. Heat another tablespoon oil, and repeat with remaining fillets.

  2. Add remaining tablespoon olive oil to the pan, and cook garlic over medium heat until it just begins to color. Add shallots and bay leaves, and cook until shallots are transparent, 4 to 5 minutes. Add peppers, and cook until slightly limp, 5 to 6 minutes more.

  3. Add vinegar and wine, and bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat, and simmer for a minute or two. Add the extra-virgin olive oil, peppercorns, cloves, and salt, and remove from heat.

  4. Place one layer of fish in the bottom of a large bowl, and spoon some of the marinade, shallots and peppers over it. Repeat until all are used up. Cover tightly, and refrigerate overnight.

  5. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Blanch the string beans until bright green, but still crunchy, about 1 minute. Transfer beans to an ice bath to cool. Drain.

  6. Arrange greens and herbs on serving plate, and place fish with shallots and peppers on top. Remove cloves. Arrange beans loosely around fish. Drizzle some of the marinade over greens just before serving.

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