Recipe courtesy of Ena's Caribbean Kitchen

Escovitch Snapper

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  • Level: Intermediate
  • Total: 30 min
  • Active: 30 min
  • Yield: 4 to 5 servings
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Vegetable oil, for deep-frying

1 whole snapper

2 tablespoons Ena's Seafood Spice Rub, recipe follows

Batter, for coating fish, optional

Escovitch Dressing, for serving, recipe follows

Ena's Seafood Spice Rub:

2 tablespoons ground pimento seed (allspice)

1 tablespoon adobo powder

1 tablespoon paprika 

1 tablespoon garlic powder 

1 tablespoon onion powder 

1/2 tablespoon cayenne

1 tablespoon sea salt 

2 tablespoons ground black pepper 

1 tablespoon ground white pepper 

2 to 3 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil

Escovitch Dressing:

1 cup white vinegar

1 tablespoon sugar 

6 to 8 pimento seeds (allspice)

Sea salt 

1 ounce carrot, shaved or julienned

1 ounce sweet white or red onion, sliced

4 to 5 Scotch Bonnet peppers, chopped

1 sprig fresh thyme


  1. Heat the oil in a deep-fryer or cast-iron skillet to 350 degrees F.
  2. Score the fish on both sides with a knife. Sprinkle inside and out with the Seafood Spice Rub. Coat in batter if using (see Cook's Note).
  3. Fry the fish until the skin, or batter, is crispy, 10 to 12 minutes.
  4. Serve with Escovitch Dressing.

Ena's Seafood Spice Rub:

  1. In a food processor, pulse together the pimento seeds, adobo, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, cayenne, salt, black pepper and white pepper. Add the olive oil and process until the mixture has a deep red color, about 45 seconds.

Escovitch Dressing:

  1. Combine the vinegar and 3 cups water in a saucepan. Add the sugar, pimento seeds and 1 tablespoon salt. Bring to a boil and cook for 5 minutes. Add the carrots, onions, peppers and thyme. Remove the pan from the heat and let the vegetables cook slightly in the hot liquid (they should still be firm).

Cook’s Note

If using batter for the fish, you can add the spice rub to the batter. If time permits, marinate the fish at least an hour for a whole fish, less for filets (depending on size and cut). Escovitch is a staple in Caribbean homes. The recipe varies from region to region and family to family. It is usually bottled in a mason jar or other creative vessel and used as a dip or sprinkled on roasted, fried or steamed seafood.