Let’s make escabeche

Our book of the week, Ernest Hemingway’s The Old Man and the Sea, tells the story of an unlucky fisherman in Cuba fighting hunger and the elements while in a three day battle with a large Atlantic blue marlin in an attempt to reverse the curse on his fishing. The novel won Hemingway the Pulitzer Prize in 1953 and was cited as one of the reasons he won the 1954 Nobel Prize.

We were inspired this story to try a classic Cuban recipe Pescado en Escabeche which translates to pickled fish. We tested out a recipe that doesn’t call for pickling the fish for 24 hours but instead creates a vinegar sauce that can be poured over the fish.

Escabeche comes from Arabic and Spanish inspired dishes but was also inspired by the Romans who used olive oil and vinegar to preserve everything from fish to vegetables. Cuban escabeche is traditionally served with swordfish, but for our recipe we used cod fillets.


  • Cod fillets
  • Garlic
  • Flour
  • Olive oil
  • Bay leaves
  • Green pepper
  • Onion
  • White wine vinegar

Step 1: Prepare your onions, peppers, and crush the garlic

Step 2: Rub the fish with half the garlic and season both sides with salt and pepper. You will then need to put half a cup of flour into a small dish and dredge the fish in it shaking to remove any excess.

Step 3: Heat one third of a cup of olive oil in a frying pan and cook the cod fillets for three minutes on each side. Once cooked remove and place the fillets in a dish.

Step 4: On a medium heat cook the garlic, onions, and green peppers for three minutes or until they begin to soften then add in one cup of white wine vinegar and three bay leaves and bring to a boil.

Step 5: Once the green peppers and onions have completely softened pour the escabeche over your cod fillets and serve with your side of choice. We chose boiled new potatoes and broccoli but there are plenty of great Cuban rice dishes you could cook.

Check out our other entries in the “Let’s make” series

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