Mackerel Escabeche with peppers, prunes and almonds



Escabeche is a technique of marinating meats (usually fish) in a vinegary sauce. It is similar to pickling, so as long as the fish is submerged in the sauce, it should keep for a while in the fridge. The basic escabeche involves pouring hot vinegar sauce over fish and vegetables, letting that marinate overnight and serving either cold, warm or room temperature. Other than that, the recipe is entirely modular. A strong flavoured, oily fish like mackerel is perfect to stand out against the vinegar. This recipe uses the traditional, sautéed sliced peppers, onion and garlic with smoked paprika and cayenne. Prunes for sweetness and roughly chopped almonds for texture. This could be a single dish for two people or a great sharing plate alongside other dishes.



2 fillets of mackerel from one largish mackerel

2 shallots, halved and thinly sliced

4 Garlic cloves, thinly sliced into chips 

2 red peppers, top and core removed, julienned 

4 prunes, roughly chopped

100ml white wine vinegar

100ml white wine or water

Handful of almonds

1 tsp Smoked Paprika (Pimentón)

1 tsp Cayenne pepper



  1. Turn on the grill setting for your oven.

  2. Place fillets skin side up on baking sheet, brush with oil and sprinkle with salt

  3. Put fish under the grill for 5-7 minutes, until skin is browned, blistered and crispy and the fish is cooked

  4. Heat a couple of tablespoons of oil in a pan over medium heat, add onions

  5. Fry until translucent and starting to brown, then add garlic

  6. Fry for a couple minutes, then add peppers, prunes and spices to pan and stir to combine

  7. After a minute, add the vinegar and wine/water

  8. Cook over medium heat until peppers have softened, about 10 minutes then turn off stove and let the mixture cool

  9. Place fillets in high sided dish and then cover with escabeche pepper/sauce mixture

  10. Let flavours meld for a few hours or overnight and then serve warm, cold or room temperature. Sprinkle with the chopped almonds and serve with a couple slices of crusty sourdough.