In many ways Aunt Ilana and I are very much alike. We both love food and words, the perfect combination for a couple of food bloggers.
One way in which we could not be more different is on our opinion of fish as a food. While Aunt Ilana detests fish, I could have it for breakfast, lunch and dinner (and have had it, in fact, to my husband’s horror). Gollum would have a hard time catching up with me.
I grew up eating fish. I come from a coastal town, after all.
This is my mother’s favorite fish dish. Imagine my surprise when reading this article, a comparison between Jamaican cuisine and Dominican cuisine, that Jamaicans prepare a dish that is very similar to this. Most importantly, I learned a new word: escovitch, which sounds suspiciously close to “escabeche”, a traditional Dominican sauce.
A quick trip to my big fat dictionary revealed that… the word wasn’t in it. Curioser and curioser.
Digging a bit deeper I discovered that escovitch wasn’t only a sauce, it’s a cooking method, one that involves frying fish or meat, then dousing it “liberally with a pickling sauce made from vinegar, pimento, onions, pepper, (and sometimes carrots).”. Where have I seen this before?
My mom’s kitchen, that’s where. Sweet synchronicity, Batman!
And speaking of my mother’s recipe, the only change I have made to the escovitched fish is adding basil, cause I love basil, and basil belongs in tomato sauce. If you don’t like, or don’t have basil feel free to omit it.
Slightly modified from my mom's recipe, this fish dish is easy to prepare and has a nice combination of flavors and textures. Go ahead and add an authentic Dominican touch to your meal.
- 6 sea bass or red snapper fillets
- 1 cup of cornstarch
- 1 cup of oil for frying
- 2 bell peppers cut into strips
- 1 large onion, sliced
- 4 tomatoes, chopped
- 2 tablespoons of olive oil
- 1 cup of tomato sauce
- A bunch of basil, chopped (optional)
- 3 limes cut into wedges
- Mix the cornstarch with 1 tablespoon of pepper and 1 tablespoon of salt.
- Coat the fish with cornstarch and shake off the excess.
- Heat oil over medium heat in a non-stick pan.
- Fry the fish fillets one by one until they are golden brown.
- Set aside.
- Heat the olive oil over low heat.
- Add the onions and cook and stir until the onions become transparent.
- Add the tomatoes and pepper and cook and stir for a minute.
- Add the tomato sauce and 1 cup of water.
- Cover and simmer until the tomatoes and pepper are cooked through.
- Season with salt to taste.
- Add the basil and mix.
- Add the fish and turn until it is coated with the sauce on all sides.
- Remove from the heat and serve immediately.
- Accompany with white rice or tostones. Garnish with the lime.
For a healthier version (non-fried), skip steps 1 to 5 and add the fish raw to the sauce. Simmer a little longer until the fish is cooked through. Each method produces a different dish, but both are delicious.