Chillo en Escabeche (Red Snapper in Escabeche Sauce)

Escabeche 550

When I was in my first year of college in Puerto Rico, I was usually done with classes by noon.  After English Lit my friends and I would sometimes pile up into our cars and head out to the beach in Luquillo.

We would first make a stop at the kiosks that lined the street in front of the beach for lunch.  They have a huge variety of fresh food, deep fried goodies and fresh fish at prices that were friendly enough for the college poor.  One of the things I loved and still to this day was anything in escabeche sauce.

Escabeche sauce is almost like a pickling sauce and has a great sweet/vinegary taste to it.  It is more on the oily side then the vinegar side, but I am confident you will love it.  The great thing is that if your not a fan of fish, no problem you can still enjoy this sauce.  This sauce is for marinating seafood as a main dish or yucca and green bananas as a side dish. They all turn out equally delicious.  I love, love, love escabeche.

Combine all the ingredients for escabeche sauce in a large pot and bring to a boil, lower heat and simmer for 45 minutes. Remove from stove and allow to cool completely.


Rinse snapper and give it a pat on the back with a paper towel.  Huh?  Pat it dry with a paper towel.


Score the fish using a serrated knife.  Season on both sides with adobo and lemon juice.


Meanwhile back at the stove…..

Heat skillet with vegetable oil and fry garlic until golden brown, remove garlic.


Dredge snapper in corn starch evenly on both sides and dust of excess.


Fry the fish…that’s pretty simple. 😀


Fry it on both sides until a crispy golden brown.


Pour half of the sauce into a deep dish, place fish on sauce and pour remaining sauce over it.


Let cool and marinate in refrigerator for 24 hours.  Remove from fridge and allow to come to almost room temperature, serve with rice or boiled roots like yucca, salted and drizzled with olive oil .

Escabeche 550

The bonus is that this is a great plan ahead meal.  Make it before a busy day and all you have to do is pull it out of the fridge and it is ready for dinner.

Print Recipe

Chillo en Escabeche (Red Snapper en Escabeche)

Escabeche Sauce:

  • 1 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup white vinegar
  • 6 o 7 grains pepper
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3/4 lbs. onions sliced
  • 1/4 cup pimientos or diced red pepper
  • 1/2 cup pimento stuffed olives

Fish and frying ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 lbs. red snapper (about 4 fillets)
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp Goya Adobo with pepper
  • corn starch
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 tbsp minced garlic

Combine the ingredients for the escabeche sauce. Simmer 45 minutes. Let chill.

Clean the fish and sprinkle with salt and lemon. Dredge fish with corn starch. Heat a pan with oil and fry garlic until golden brown, remove garlic and fry fish until brown/gold on both sides.

Pour the escabeche sauce into a deep glass dish and place fish slices over sauce. Cover with more sauce. Follow the same instructions with all the slices.

Let cool, refrigerate 24 hours.  Serve cold.

*Be sure to use a glass dish and not metal or plastic as the vinegar may react with metal or plastic.


  1. says

    I’m looking forward to making this on my upcoming Caribbean trip. Question though. The escabeche I’ve had is somewhat sweet and you don’t call for any sugar at all. Where does the sweetness come from?

    • says

      The sweetness comes from the sugar in the onions. You can use pretty much any onion but, yellow onions are best for escabeche because they have a lot of sugar.

  2. Chris says

    Thank you so much for this recipe- it is the best one i have tried for escabeche, usually they can be a bit nasty and acidic, this one is great and tastes amazing.

  3. says

    Thank you for looking out for us fish-o-phobes. I am going to try to use some of the sauce as a marinade for grilled chicken breasts. Once it’s cooked, I’ll slice it up fajita style and add some more of the escabeche sauce in a wrap.

    If that doesn’t work, I’ll try it like your snapper method but use grilled chicken instead. Dang….I’m all hungry now.

  4. lydorin says

    This is delicious!! thanks for sharing the greatness of PR foods with your readers all around. I would go to Guavate when i snuck away (los guineitos!!!)… i still sneak everytime i visit.

  5. micaela says

    yum, I love escabeche too and have been craving it… guineitos en escabeche, must prepare soon!!! Hey, I would recommend you specify that the stuff should be placed in a glass dish due to the vinegar. Some kitchen novices may not realize there’s enough vinegar in there to react with a metal pan, and leech off-flavors from a plastic container. Other than that, love the recipe and already shared it on FB.

    Oh, and I used to head to Dorado after class, LOL! Great minds, eh? There was this place on the malecon, you could order fried marlin and fried root veggies by the pound… zOMGz, sooooo good!!! My friends and I would stuff our faces after a few hours of swimming and working on our tans.

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