Archive of BBC Food Recipes

Escovitch fish

Prep time less than 30 mins
Cook time less than 30 mins
Serves 2-3
From Mary Berry's Easter Feast
A whole red snapper is shallow fried and served with escovitch, a traditional Caribbean vegetable dish.


  1. Make 2 deep slashes into each side of the fish. Sprinkle a few pinches of ground allspice all over the fish, rubbing it into the cuts and the cavity of the fish.

  2. Heat the vegetable oil in a large frying pan, until very hot. Gently lower the fish into the pan and leave to fry on one side for 7-10 minutes, until the snapper is golden brown and crisp. Turn the fish and cook on the other side, gently moving it around to ensure even cooking. Baste with the hot oil. Turn again and baste if necessary. Once cooked, carefuly lift out of the pan and leave to drain on a plate lined with kitchen paper. Leave to rest while you prepare the escovitch.

  3. Pour the vinegar into a large saucepan. Add the onion, chilli, peppers, cho cho, thyme, spring onions, a pinch of ground allspice and black pepper.

  4. Turn the heat to high, place a lid on the pan and steam for 10-15 minutes. Once the vegetables have begun to soften, turn off the heat, add the carrot ribbons and let the heat of the vegetables cook the ribbons for a further 5 minutes.

  5. Put some of the vegetables in the bottom of a large serving dish, place the fish on top and then put more vegetables on top of the fish and pour over some, but not all, of the juice from the pan. Can be eaten hot or cold.


  • 1 red snapper, gutted and scaled with head and tail left on
  • 1 tsp allspice seeds, ground to a fine powder
  • 260ml/9½fl oz vegetable oil, for frying
  • 300ml/10fl oz malt vinegar
  • 1 large onion, thinly sliced into half moons
  • ¼ Scotch bonnet chilli
  • 3 peppers (1 red, 1 yellow and 1 green), sliced into 1cm/½in thick strips
  • 1 large cho cho (available from Caribbean shops), sliced and heart removed
  • bunch of fresh thyme, leaves picked
  • 3 spring onions, sliced
  • pinch of freshly ground black peppercorns
  • 3 medium carrots, peeled into ribbons using a vegetable peeler

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