Jamaican Escovitch Fish

This is a traditional way that fish is served in Jamaica that is similar to the escabeches of the Spanish-speaking islands. It is traditionally served with bammy (also spelled bammie), a cassava flatbread, but I like to eat it with rice to better soak up the marinade. This recipe makes four cups of pickled vegetables: You can use it all or reserve some and use the leftovers as a complement to other fish or meat dishes or in sandwiches. Read more about this recipe in the article This Tangy Escovitch Fish Connects Jamaica to Its Spanish Past.

Jamaican Escovitch Fish
Photo: Jacob Fox
Active Time:
30 mins
Total Time:
1 hr


  • 3 tablespoons canola oil, divided

  • 2 medium onions, halved and thinly sliced

  • 2 medium carrots, cut crosswise into thirds and sliced into thin strips

  • 1 medium bell pepper, thinly sliced

  • 1 habanero chile, seeded and thinly sliced

  • ½ teaspoon allspice berries, cracked, plus 3 whole berries

  • ½ teaspoon black peppercorns

  • 3 sprigs fresh thyme

  • 1 ½ cups cane vinegar (see Tip)

  • 1 ¼ pounds red snapper or 2 ½ pounds porgy (about 4 small), cleaned and heads removed

  • ½ teaspoon salt

  • ¼ teaspoon ground pepper


  1. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onions, carrots, bell pepper, chile, cracked and whole allspice berries, peppercorns and thyme. Cook, stirring often, until the vegetables soften, about 10 minutes. Add vinegar and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 3 minutes. Remove from heat.

  2. Meanwhile, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Sprinkle both sides of fish with salt and pepper. Cook, turning once, until just cooked through, 3 to 5 minutes per side, depending on thickness. Remove from heat. Pour the vegetables over the fish. Let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes before serving.

To make ahead

Refrigerate marinated vegetables (Step 1) for up to 1 week.


If you can't find cane vinegar, you can substitute the same amount of cider vinegar and 1 teaspoon dark brown sugar.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

303 Calories
13g Fat
12g Carbs
30g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 4
Serving Size 5 oz. fish & 3/4 cup vegetables each
Calories 303
% Daily Value *
Total Carbohydrate 12g 4%
Dietary Fiber 3g 11%
Total Sugars 7g
Protein 30g 60%
Total Fat 13g 17%
Saturated Fat 1g 5%
Cholesterol 53mg 18%
Vitamin A 6217IU 124%
Sodium 411mg 18%
Potassium 910mg 19%

Nutrition information is calculated by a registered dietitian using an ingredient database but should be considered an estimate.

* Daily Values (DVs) are the recommended amounts of nutrients to consume each day. Percent Daily Value (%DV) found on nutrition labels tells you how much a serving of a particular food or recipe contributes to each of those total recommended amounts. Per the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the daily value is based on a standard 2,000 calorie diet. Depending on your calorie needs or if you have a health condition, you may need more or less of particular nutrients. (For example, it’s recommended that people following a heart-healthy diet eat less sodium on a daily basis compared to those following a standard diet.)

(-) Information is not currently available for this nutrient. If you are following a special diet for medical reasons, be sure to consult with your primary care provider or a registered dietitian to better understand your personal nutrition needs.

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