A Good Friday Recipe for Jamaican Escovitch Fish

This Good Friday, we want to tell you about how we celebrate Easter in Jamaica and share with you one of our traditional recipes so you can give your Fish Friday Dinner a Caribbean twist! 

First, let’s hear about the tradition of eating fish on Good Friday and its significance on the final day of Lent. Lent is traditionally a period of fasting to commemorate the 40 days of fasting that Jesus performed in the desert. Do you remember hearing the tale of ’40 days and 40 nights in school?  

During the 40 days of Lent, which takes us to Easter weekend, many people give up things ranging from drinking alcohol to eating rich items such as sweets or red meat. In that society, meat was often considered an indulgence and reserved for the upper class. In Jamaica, fish became an easy and healthy substitute and is celebrated on holy days with staple dishes such as Escovitch Fish.

Another Jamaican tradition on Good Friday is to add an egg white to a glass of water before sunrise on Good Friday, then look at it as the sun goes up to see if the white settles into an image that may hint at the future. For example, a house-shaped pattern in egg white could mean a new home or family.

Now that tradition is out the way, and your egg whites are in place and ready to predict the future, let’s talk some more about our traditional dish. The Jamaican Escovitch fish calls for fish topped with tart, spicy pickled vegetables and sauce, fried or seared in a pan. The Escovitch style was brought over from Europe by the first Travellers to the island, Spanish Jews. The name escovitch derived from the Spanish name escabeche (fish or meat marinated in sauce to prevent it from spoiling).

This cooking style is famous all over the Caribbean and throughout Latin America as well, and that’s why Buzzrock recommends adding this classic dish to your Good Friday celebrations. Below, you can find our classic recipe for Escovitch fish, featuring our all-purpose seasoning so that you can Bring the Buzz to your Good Friday.

Recipe

2 pounds whole red snapper, or any white fish – cleaned and scaled. 

Salt and pepper 

1 tbsp Buzzrocks BBQ Sauce 

1 lime or lemon 

½ cup vegetable oil or more as needed 

1 bay leaf 

2 cloves garlic, crushed or finely chopped 

½ teaspoon ginger 

1 yellow medium onion, thinly sliced 

1 medium carrot julienne 

½ red bell pepper, thinly sliced 

½ yellow bell pepper, thinly sliced 

2 sprigs thyme 

1 Scotch bonnet pepper pierced, or ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper 

½ teaspoon Buzzrocks All-Purpose Seasoning 

1 tbsp sugar 

1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce 

¾ cup malt vinegar sub red wine vinegar 

Freshly ground white pepper

Method

Rinse fish and rub with lemon or lime 

Season with salt, pepper, and Buzzrocks All-Purpose Seasoning  

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat, then add the fish. Cook each side for about 5-7 minutes, until cooked through and crispy on both sides.  

Remove fish and set aside. Drain oil and leave about 2-3 tablespoons of oil. 

Add the bay leaf, garlic and ginger, stir-fry for about a minute making sure the garlic does not burn. Then add onion, bell peppers, carrots, thyme, scotch bonnet, sugar, Worcestershire sauce and Buzzrocks BBQ Sauce. 

Continue stirring for 2-3 minutes. Add vinegar, mix and adjust salt and pepper according to preference. Let it simmer for about 2 more minutes.  

Combine fish with the vegetable mix. Discard the bay leaf and serve.

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