This dish is a traditional Jamaican meal, served up hot or at room temperature with warm flatbreads for breakfast or lunch. The word ‘escoveitch’ is used to describe the sweet and sour saucy vegetable mix which is added to the fish at the last minute. Full of the flavour from allspice and tangy vinegar, it complements the crunchy fish fillets perfectly. Ready in just half an hour, this makes a delicious dinner in no time.
- 4 fresh tilapia (or snapper, hake, salmon or cod) fillets, about 150g each
- Juice of 1 lime, and 1 lime to serve
- 2tbsp cornmeal (instant polenta will be fine too)
- 2tbsp plain flour
- Oil, for shallow frying
- 300ml distilled malt vinegar
- 1 large carrot, peeled, and cut into thin sticks
- 1 onion, peeled and sliced
- 1 red pepper, sliced
- ½ cucumber, deseeded and cut into thin sticks
- 6 radishes, thinly sliced
- 2 garlic cloves, peeled and halved
- 1tbsp allspice berries
- Flatbreads, to serve
To make the sauce: Pour the vinegar into a pan, add the veg and allspice and heat for 3-5 minutes to soften.
Rinse and dry the fish. Squeeze the lime juice over, season well.
Mix the cornmeal and flour on a plate and coat the fish in it. Shake off excess. Heat the oil in a shallow pan until hot. Fry the fish on both sides until golden. Take out and drain on kitchen paper.
Spoon the pickled veg over the fish, with the sauce. Add chopped spring onions if you like. Serve with lime wedges and flatbreads.
Top tip for making Escoveitched fish
The pickled veg should include a vegetable called christophene, peeled and cored. Widely used in the Caribbean, it looks like a squash with coarse, wrinkly skin, but has a pale green and watery texture on the inside.