Bass in Escovitch
Tart, spicy escovitch sauce is the perfect foil for mild, flaky whole fish, either baked or fried, as in the popular Jamaican hawker breakfast.
Yield: serves 4-6
- 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
- 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.
- 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.