Snapper Scallopine Escovitch
Chef Mario Martinez
Rollin’ Oats Market and Café
St. Petersburg, Fla.
“Pescado en Escabeche” is traditionally prepared using swordfish steaks and is commonly found marinating with pickled vegetables in tapas bars throughout Spain. Chef Martinez prepares a quick Jamaican version using a fiery Scotch bonnet or habanero chile pepper, ginger and fresh thyme to flavor the cooked fish. He substitutes snapper fillets for the swordfish, since this species is plentiful in Florida where his restaurant, Rollin’ Oats Market and Cafe, is located.
4 red snapper fillets (6-8 oz. each), skinless, boneless and cut into ½-in. thick slices
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tbsp. salt
1 tsp. black pepper
½ cup olive oil, divided
1 tbsp. minced fresh garlic
1 tbsp. minced fresh ginger root
2 bay leaves
2 bell peppers (red and green), cored, seeded and sliced into very thin, long strips
1 med. red onion, peeled, cored and sliced into very thin, long strips
1 large carrot, peeled and cut into very thin strips
1 Scotch bonnet or habanero) pepper, seeded and sliced into very thin strips *
½ cup water
1 large sprig fresh thyme, bruised on a cutting board with the side of a French knife
½ cup malt vinegar (or Spanish sherry wine vinegar or cider vinegar)
Juice of 1 lime
2 tbsp. chopped fresh parsley
2 tbsp. nonpareil capers
1. Preheat oven to warm setting. In shallow bowl, combine flour, salt and pepper; dredge snapper through seasoned flour and arrange on a sheet pan.
2. In large skillet over medium-high heat, heat half the olive oil until hot but not smoking. Sauté the floured snapper slices until lightly golden on each side. Remove skillet from heat, transfer the sautéed slices to serving platter, and hold in warm oven.
3. Return skillet to heat and add remaining olive oil. Sauté garlic and ginger with bay leaves for 1 minute. Add bell peppers, onion, carrot and Scotch bonnet pepper; sauté another 1-2 minutes. 4. Add the water thyme sprig; deglaze bottom of pan. Cool until liquid reduces, about 20-30 seconds. Stir in vinegar and lime juice; season to taste with salt and remove from heat. Discard thyme and bay leaves.
5. Remove serving platter from oven; top the snapper with the escovitch vegetable mixture and cooking liquid. Garnish with chopped parsley and capers. Serve hot or at room temperature.
Photo credit: Emily Kemme