Recipe contributed by Peruvian chef Marita Lynn. Her company, Marita Lynn Catering, serves New York City and Greater New Jersey.
Escabeche is a dish of Mediterranean origin brought to Peru by the Spaniards. It is usually served with fried fish or chicken, either poached or baked, that has been marinated in a mixture of onions and vinegar. To make it Peruvian style, just add aji panca to the marinade.
The fish version is more delicious, but I usually prefer to make it with poached chicken, which is a healthier version of the dish, as opposed to the fried one. I’ve included the fish recipe below – beneath is a variation with chicken, just substitute out for the fish after it is cooked. Whichever way you eat it, what makes it so delectable is the way the protein gets pickled in the marinade – if possible, prepare the dish one day ahead of time so that the chicken or fish is thoroughly pickled.
Escabeche is eaten room temperature and usually served with roasted or boiled sweet potatoes, a hard-boiled egg and botija or black olives.
2 lbs snapper, cut into 4 oz fillets
1 cup yellow corn meal flour
¼ cup vegetable oil
¼ cup canola oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tbsp aji panca paste
1 tbsp aji mirasol paste
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp cumin
2 lbs white onions, cut in a thick julienne
¼ cup red wine vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste
Botija or Black Olives
Roasted or Boiled Sweet Potato
Wash and dry the fish filets. When dry, season with salt and coat with flour.
In a frying pan, heat the vegetable oil over medium high heat and fry the fish until golden. Once the fish is cooked, remove from the pan and put on a platter.
In a clean skillet, add the canola oil and sauté the garlic, aji panca paste, aji mirasol paste, oregano and cumin. Mix well and cook for 2 minutes. Add the onions and cook until translucent. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Add the vinegar – the level will vary on the acidity you prefer, add more to make it more acidic. Remove from the heat and let cool.
Pour the onion mixture on top of the fish arranged on a platter. Decorate with sweet potatoes, olives and hard-boiled eggs. Enjoy!
To use chicken instead of fish:
4 chicken pieces (white or dark, could be legs, thighs, breast), washed
4 cups chicken stock
1 carrot, coarsely chopped
1 celery stalk, coarsely chopped
1 white onion, coarsely chopped
1 garlic clove, peeled
In a medium deep pot over medium high heat, bring chicken stock, carrot, celery and onion and garlic clove to a boil. Let boil for 10 minutes, then reduce the heat to low and add chicken, cooking for 25-30 minutes. Remove the chicken and put in a platter. Follow the recipe for the rest of the ingredients above.