Red Snapper Escabeche

May 6, 2022

Patty James

From the verb escabechar (“to pickle”), escabeche means marinade in Spanish, and there are numerous versions of this style of dish throughout Latin America and the Caribbean (in Jamaica, for example, it’s called escovitch). Feel free to substitute another fish for the snapper. Bluefish and mackerel—both full-flavored fish—take well to this preparation. Timing alert: The snapper needs to marinate for at least 2 hours.

Mealtime: Lunch, dinner
Cuisine type: Latin American
Cooking time: 30 minutes
Active preparation time: 15 minutes
Number of servings: 4
Dish type: Main
Level: Easy



  • 4 red snapper fillets (6 ounces each), skinned
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large red onion, halved and thinly sliced
  • 1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • 3 cloves garlic, slivered
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • ½ cup cider vinegar
  • ½ teaspoon thyme
  • ⅔ cup orange juice
  • ⅓ cup dried currants or raisins
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper




Step 1:

Sprinkle the snapper with the chili powder and ½ teaspoon of the salt. Dredge the snapper in the flour, shaking off the excess.


Step 2:

In a large nonstick skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil over medium heat. Add 2 of the snapper fillets and cook until golden brown and the fish just flakes when tested with a fork, about 3 minutes per side. With a slotted spatula, transfer the fish to a shallow glass dish large enough to hold all 4 of the fillets in a single layer. Repeat with the remaining oil and fillets.


Step 3:

Add the onion, bell pepper, and garlic to the dish, sprinkle the sugar over the vegetables and cook, stirring frequently, until the onion is crisp-tender, about 5 minutes.


Step 4:

Add the vinegar to the skillet and bring to a boil. Add the remaining ¼ teaspoon salt, the thyme, orange juice, currants, and black pepper. Bring to a boil and boil until slightly reduced and syrupy, about 4 minutes.


Step 5:

Pour the sauce over the fish, cover, and refrigerate, occasionally spooning the sauce over the fish, for at least 2 hours or up to overnight. Serve chilled or at room temperature.

red snapper escabeche


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