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.
- 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
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.