Fish & Seafood/ Jamaican & Caribbean

Jamaican Escovitch Fish

A yummy fish dish, fried until golden and crispy, topped with a beautiful medley of lightly pickled vegetables and a hint of spice provided by the scotch bonnet pepper!

Growing up, I was definitely not a fish person however, I always seemed to LOVE when my mum made this – especially during the holidays and on Good Friday! To this day, it’s still an absolute fave of mine. You can think of it as the Jamaican variation or version of ceviche, a popular dish in Latin American countries. The fish is seasoned, fried, and marinated with a beautiful mix of vegetables cooked in a vinegar-based dressing.

Recipe Tips and Notes

Choose Your Fish – You can use boneless snapper, whole snapper, sliced king fish or goat (really hard to find). You can use any fish of your choice, however, firmer bodied fish are ideal.

Prepare a Day Ahead & Marinate – This dish tastes best when you allow the flavours of the pickled vegetables to marinate into the flesh of the fish overnight. I’m personally advocating that you make this dish one day ahead – your tastebuds will thank you!

Infuse Oil With Scotch Bonnet – This adds a boost of flavour to the fish while it is being fried.

Pairs well with Bammy, Fried Dumpling, Festival, and Hard Dough Bread

Jamaican Escovitch Fish

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A yummy fish dish, fried until golden and crispy, topped with a beautiful medley of lightly pickled vegetables and a hint of spice provided by the scotch bonnet pepper!


  • Fish Seasoning
  • 2-3 Medium Whole Snapper
  • Juice of ½ Lemon
  • 1 Scotch Bonnet Pepper
  • 1 tbsp Green Seasoning (optional)
  • 1 tsp All-Purpose Seasoning or Seasoning Salt
  • 1 tsp Black Pepper
  • Salt to Taste
  • Cooking Oil
  • Escovitch Dressing
  • ½ Scotch Bonnet Pepper seeds removed and sliced
  • ¼ Chayote (Cho Cho) julienned
  • ½ Carrot julienned
  • ½ Bell Pepper julienned any 2 colours
  • 1 Small Onion sliced
  • ¼ cup White Vinegar
  • 6-7 Pimento Seeds whole
  • ½ Sugar
  • ¼ tsp Salt or to taste
  • 1 tsp Oil from when frying fish


Fish Seasoning


Prepare your fish (clean/scale); pat dry. On one side of the fish, make 2 slits (ensuring not to cut the fish in half). Season with green seasoning, all purpose or seasoning salt, and black pepper. Marinate overnight or a few hours ahead, and refrigerate - ensure you get the seasoning in-between the slits.


Using a large, non-stick skillet, heat cooking oil and scotch bonnet pepper on high heat. Fry fish for about 5 minutes on each side. Do not flip until it can freely move (a crisp exterior should have formed on the fish).


Remove fish from oil and place on paper towel to drain excess oil; set aside.

Escovitch Dressing


Prepare your vegetables and set aside.


In a medium sized sauce pan, add scotch bonnet, chayote, carrot, bell peppers, onions, vinegar, pimento, oil, sugar and salt. Bring to a boil over high heat then allow to simmer for about 3 minutes or until liquid is dissolved.


Transfer fish into a dish with a lid.


Pour and spoon the dressing on top of the fish then cover with a lid.


Allow to marinate overnight, and serve the next day.


A. Do not overcook your fish. Once it's done, remove and drain any excess oil. B. Do not flip your fish until it can freely move in the pan - this will ensure it stays whole and intact. C. This fish is not meant to have "sauce". There should still be some liquid, but should all be soaked up by the fish once poured on top.

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