Bass in Escovitch

  • Serves

    serves 4-6


Tart, spicy escovitch sauce is the perfect foil for mild, flaky whole fish, either baked or fried, as in the popular Jamaican hawker breakfast. This recipe first appeared in our November 2011 issue along with Betsy Andrews's story Good Morning, Jamaica.


  • 2 (2-lb.) whole seabass or striped bass, scaled and cleaned
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • ½ lime
  • 4 sprigs thyme
  • 2 scallions
  • 1 Scotch bonnet or habanero chile, stemmed, seeded, and thinly sliced
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil, plus more for greasing pan
  • 1 each green, yellow, and orange bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, and thinly sliced
  • 1 medium red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 tbsp. apple cider vinegar


Step 1

Heat oven to 375°. Season the cavity of each fish with salt and pepper; squeeze lime juice inside. Stuff each with 2 sprigs thyme, 1 scallion, and ¼ of the chile; cut three diagonal slashes in the side of each fish, and season outsides with salt and pepper. Place fish on a greased foil-lined baking sheet, and bake until just cooked through, about 30 minutes.

Step 2

Meanwhile, make the escovitch sauce by heating oil in a 12″ skillet over medium-high heat; add remaining chile, peppers, and onion, and cook, stirring, until softened but slightly crunchy, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat, and stir in vinegar; season with and salt and pepper. Top each fish with sauce.

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