Marinated Swordfish With Bell Peppers

Escabeche is an ancient dish with Persian origins and arrived in Spain with the Moors, who made enormous contributions to Spanish cuisine and culture.

Today, it’s a dish common in Mediterranean cuisine, but it’s the Spaniards who brought it to America. Traditionally created to preserve fish and some meats, the method evolved to preserve vegetables as well.

There’s nothing like making escabeche at home. It’s an easy and fun recipe. You can check the level of acidity and how it changes the taste of the food as the hours pass. For the preparation, be sure to use a glass or porcelain vessel, but certainly not plastic. Metal is not recommended either.

When making escabeche, we brown the fish only, not fry it. Be careful with the time and proportions. The amount of oil should be small, otherwise you will notice it in the escabeche.

You’ll need capers and olives. Both contribute salt and acid and thus raise the flavor level for the sauce and consequently, the fish. Swordfish has a firm flesh, so it is ideal for this preparation, since its flesh will stand up well to the acid.

When plating the escabeche, be sure that the capers and olives are evenly distributed so as to make the flavor uniform. The peppers are also more than a pretty addition: Their main purpose is to add flavor and acidity to the mix. Garnish with a small cracker to enjoy the delicious sauce.

Yields 4 servings

Serve hot or cold


4 slices swordfish (½- to ¾-inch thick)

Salt and pepper to taste

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon dry oregano

1 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning

¼ cup olive oil

For the Marinade:

1 red pepper, seedless and deveined, cut in thin strips
1 yellow pepper, seedless and deveined, cut in thin strips

1 green pepper, seedless and deveined, cut in thin strips

1 medium red onion, julienned

2 garlic cloves, crushed

¼ cup olive oil

1 teaspoon sweet paprika       

½ cup black olives, seedless, cut in small pieces

1/3 cup capers

2 bay leaves

¾ cup red vinegar

2 tablespoons tomato paste

2 cups fish broth

Salt and pepper to taste


1. Season fish well with salt and pepper. Mix oregano, Old Bay seasoning and flour; sprinkle over fish.

2. Brown fish in a small amount of oil for approximately 3 to 4 minutes on each side, depending on fish thickness. Place fish in an ovenproof glass pan.

3. Slightly cook peppers, onion and garlic in hot olive oil for approximately 3 to 4 minutes. Turn off heat and add olives, capers, bay leaves; stir.

4. In a medium-size pan, mix red vinegar, tomato paste and fish broth; cook until mixture is reduced by one third.

5. Cover fish with marinade and the reduced broth mixture. For better flavor, marinate overnight or at least 8 hours.

To learn more about me or my recipes, visit me at and at AARP, where I am a chef and nutrition expert.

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