Make Ahead

White Fish Escabeche Tacos

April  6, 2021
7 Ratings
Photo by Bobbi Lin
  • Serves 6
Author Notes

This is in my post-beach dinner rotation in the summer. It's all prepped ahead and the only thing left to do is warm the tortillas and make yourself a drink. —cheese1227

What You'll Need
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • six 6-ounce thin fillets of white flakey fish (Alaska cod, black cod, sole, rockfish, and pollock), cut into 3-inch pieces
  • 1/2 cup flour, for dredging
  • 3/4 cup olive oil, divided
  • 1 large sweet onion, julienned
  • 2 large garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 2 carrots, julienned
  • 2 red bell peppers, seeded and julienned
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, seeded and julienned
  • 1 cup sherry vinegar or good quality white vinegar
  • 1 jalapeño or Fresno chile, sliced in thin rings (seeded if you are spice wimp like me)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 6 allspice berries
  • 1/4 cup roughly chopped parsley
  • 18 small corn or flour tortillas, for serving
  • chopped fresh tomato, for serving
  • sour cream or Greek yogurt, for serving
  1. Sprinkle salt and freshly ground pepper over fish fillets. Dredge both sides of each piece of fish in flour.
  2. Heat 1/4 cup olive oil in a skillet over medium high heat until it is hot but not smoking. Working in batches, sauté fillets on one side for 2 minutes to get a golden hue, then gently flip and cook for 2 minutes more. Remove fish from the pan (they will be slightly undercooked but the vinegar will finish the cooking process as it marinates the fish) and place into a non-reactive glass or ceramic baking dish.
  3. Wipe out the skillet and add 3 tablespoons olive oil. Place the skillet over medium heat. Add onions, garlic, and carrots. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes to soften them slightly. Add peppers and cook for 2 to 3 minutes more. Add vinegar and bring mixture to a simmer for 2 minutes. Remove the vegetables from heat and add the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil, sliced chiles, bay leaves, allspice berries, and parsley. Pour this mixture over the fish. Cool to room temperature, cover, and refrigerate for at least 3 hours, or up to 12 hours.
  4. Serve the fish at room temperature, with warm tortillas, chopped tomato, and cold sour cream or Greek yogurt.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Olivia Noel
    Olivia Noel
  • Mike Sidman
    Mike Sidman
  • Theresa
  • mainesoul
  • cheese1227
I am an excellent eater (I have been all my life). I’m a pretty good cook (Ask my kids!). And my passable writing improves with alcohol (whether it's the writer or the reader that needs to drink varies by sentence.). I just published my first cookbook, Green Plate Special, which focuses on delicious recipes that help every day cooks eat more sustainably.

17 Reviews

Audrey December 16, 2023
This is my go-to meal for entertaining. I love that it’s make-ahead, and it’s delicious. We serve any leftovers over rice.
nancy July 18, 2022
I’ve had escabeche before, but we found this recipe too vinegary for our taste.
Olivia N. September 21, 2018
I made this recipe today – my first time eating or making fish tacos – and it was wonderful!! Accompanied by homemade tortillas, it was even better ;)
And to share a good food joke... I live in Brittany, France (lots of coasts and plentiful fisheries), and so I made this recipe with a local fish called "tacaud," which is pronounced TACO in French! Double points for a meal that makes for a good joke! :P
Mike S. May 14, 2018
I was hoping to make this the night before...but that would mean leaving it for closer to 24 hours -- is that way too long?
cheese1227 May 15, 2018
You should be OK with 24 hours.
Audrey May 28, 2016
This is definitely one of my favorite recipes. My husband loves them too. Perfect for a hot summer day.
Juliebell August 9, 2015
Could you leave off the dredging in flour for gluten free without changing the integrity of the dish?
barbara July 8, 2016
I would use a little bit of a starch flour like potato starch, tapioca starch or similar. Even peanut flour will work. Chinese cooking uses a light coating of cornstarch for their proteins. Make sure it is a very light coating and shake off any excess.
Juliebell July 8, 2016
Thank you Barbara!
Theresa June 21, 2015
Have loved escabeche from my travels in Mexico. Can I adapt this recipe to use shellfish, such as shrimp, scallops, calamari?
cheese1227 June 22, 2015
Yes, you can! Just make sure the shrimp or scallops are slightly under cooked when you put the marinate on them, as the proteins will tighten up while sitting in the vinegar. And I would tend on the shorter end of the marinating time with these smaller pieces of shellfish so they don't get mushy.
mainesoul June 18, 2015
This looks wonderful and easy. The carrots add lovely color, sweetness and nutrition.
cheese1227 June 18, 2015
It truly is very simple, mainesoul! Are you actually in Maine or does your soul just long to be here?
mainesoul June 19, 2015
I was born and raised in Maine. I have lived in Boston most of my life. Many of my closest friends are in Maine and I go often. Love Maine. Love Boston. I think, Maine has had the biggest influence on me as a person. Is that the Maine coast that I see in the background of your picture?
cheese1227 June 19, 2015
I too have roots in MA. Grew up in the Berkshires, lived in and around Boston for 10 years. Moved to Maine three years ago for my husband's job. My picture was taking at on the pier at Five Islands Lobster Co. in Georgetown.
bbos42 June 17, 2015
Why does every recipe have to contain carrots? I don’t particularly like them. There are only two worthwhile uses for them. Pot roast with baby carrots and the other is carrot cake! Sorry Buggs
cheese1227 June 18, 2015
This recipe is very flexible, bbos42. Just leave them out if you don't like them.