For the vinaigrette: Set a medium skillet over medium heat. Add the vegetable oil and swirl to coat. Add the garlic, bay leaf, ginger and Scotch bonnet and cook until aromatic, about 2 minutes. Add the vinegar and bring to a boil; then add the pineapple juice, sugar and soy sauce. Taste and adjust the seasoning.
For the escovitch salad: Pour the warm vinaigrette over the carrots, scallions, Fresno chiles and red onions and let the vegetables marinate while frying the fish.
For the fried fish: Fill a wide, straight-sided pan or Dutch oven with about 2 inches of oil and heat the oil to 400 degrees F.
Add the coriander, cumin and allspice to a dry skillet and toast over medium heat until fragrant, 2 to 3 minutes. Mix the cornstarch with the toasted spices. Sprinkle the fish with salt and lightly coat each fillet in the seasoned cornstarch. Slide the fish into the oil and fry until golden brown, 4 to 5 minutes.
Transfer the fish to a paper-towel-lined baking sheet and season with salt.
Toss the marinated salad with the cilantro leaves. I love to serve this dish family-style, so I pour a generous amount of the salad and dressing onto the bottom of a platter, then I lay down the crispy fish and pile the remaining salad on top.
Recipe courtesy of Kelsey Nixon
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