Ingredients

FOR THE ESCABECHE
600g skin-on fish fillets (I used grey mullet)
plain flour (or use rice flour if gluten free) for dusting
olive oil for frying
1 onion, thinly sliced
1 fennel bulb, thinly sliced, fronds reserved
1 teaspoon black peppercorns
1 teaspoon coriander seeds
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 punnet cherry tomatoes, halved
a handful basil leaves
2 tablespoons capers
100ml red wine, sherry vinegar or white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon sugar
TO SERVE
3 red capsicums, roasted, seeded and sliced into strips
¼ cup toasted, flaked almonds
½ cup green grapes, halved
extra virgin olive oil for drizzling
crusty bread
I often think that escabeche should be called the entertainer’s best friend as it’s one of those dishes whose flavour improves with time. Make it early on the day or the day before for a more pronounced flavour, just be sure to bring it up to room temperature before serving. Do use a quality vinegar with a good balance, as something too acidic will make this rather unpleasant. I prefer to use an oily fish here. For a more luxe version add some saffron to the liquid.

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Instructions

1.FOR THE ESCABECHE
2.Dust the fish fillets with rice or plain flour seasoned generously with salt and pepper.
3.Fry the fillets until golden and just cooked.
4.Put into a glass or ceramic dish in a single layer.
5.Wipe out the pan then heat a little oil and fry the onion, fennel, peppercorns, coriander, bay leaves and salt until soft and tender.
6.Add the cherry tomatoes, basil, capers and fennel fronds, cook for a minute before adding the red wine vinegar, sugar and 250ml of water.
7.Bring up to a boil, then pour over the fish.
8.Allow to cool then refrigerate for a minimum of 3 hours or ideally overnight.
9.Bring up to room temperature before serving.
10.TO SERVE
11.Put the fish and vegetables onto plates or a platter, scatter over the capsicums, almonds, green grapes and drizzle with the extra virgin olive oil.
12.Serve with some crusty bread alongside.

Recipes & food styling Ginny Grant / Photography Aaron McLean / Styling Fiona Lascelles

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