Snapper Scaloppine Escovitch
“Pescado en Escabeche” (originally from Spain) is traditionally prepared using swordfish steaks and is commonly found marinating with the pickled vegetables in tapas bars throughout Spain. This is a quick version of the Jamaican rendition of Escabeche using a Scotch Bonnet or Habañero chile pepper and fresh thyme, therefore re-named Escovitch.
4 red snapper fillets (6-8 ounces), skinless, boneless and cut into ½-inch thick slices
1 cup all-purpose flour, seasoned to taste with 1 tablespoon salt & 1 teaspoon pepper
½ cup olive oil
1 tablespoon minced fresh garlic
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger root
2 bay leaves
2 bell peppers (red and green), cored, seeded & sliced into 1½-inch long very thin strips
1 medium red onion, peeled, cored & sliced into 1½-thick long very thin strips
1 large carrot, peeled, cut in 1½-inch planks & sliced into very thin strips
1 Scotch Bonnet (or Habañero) pepper, seeded & sliced into very thin strips *
½ cup water
1 large sprig fresh thyme, bruised on a cutting board with the side of a French knife
½ cup malt vinegar (Spanish sherry wine vinegar or cider vinegar work well also)
The juice of 1 lime
Salt, to taste
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
2 tablespoons non-pareil capers
Pre-heat oven to “warm” setting. Dredge the snapper slices through the seasoned flour and arrange on a sheet pan. Heat half the olive oil in a large skillet set over medium-high heat until hot but not smoking. Sauté the floured snapper slices until lightly golden on each side, remove skillet from the heat, transfer the panéed slices to a serving platter, and hold in the warm oven.
Return the skillet to the heat with the remaining olive oil and sauté the garlic and ginger with the bay leaves for 1 minute. Add the peppers, onion, carrot and Scotch Bonnet pepper and sauté an-other 1-2 minutes. Add the water and thyme sprig and deglaze the bottom of the pan; allow the liquid to reduce 20-30 seconds. Add the vinegar and lime juice, season to taste with salt and re-move from the heat; discard thyme and bay leaves. Remove the serving platter with the snapper slices from the warm oven, top the snapper with the Escovitch vegetables and cooking liquid and garnish with the chopped parsley and capers. This dish is ideal for a buffet because it can be served both hot or at room temperature.
* When handling potent chile peppers such as Scotch Bonnets or Habañeros, work with plastic gloves, because even repeated hand washing will not be effective in removing the large amounts of capsaicin (the compound that gives chile peppers their fiery nature) which can irritate the eyes and skin.
Recipe for the NOA courtesy of Chef Mario Martinez, executive chef for Rollin’ Oats Market and Café. in St. Petersburg, Fla. Photography by Emily Kemme.
Per serving: 622 calories; 50 g protein; 35 g carbohydrate; 30 g fat; 2,006 mg sodium; 2.8 g fiber.