Brazilian Fried Fish with Onions, Tomatoes, and Vinegar (Escabeche de Peixe)

Before refrigeration, escabeche was used as a method of pickling fish to preserve it in Brazil. The combination of fried fish in a vinegar-based onion and tomato sauce is so good, however, that the dish lives on.

Serves: 6Hands-on: 25 minutesTotal: 1 hour 10 minutesDifficulty: Easy

Serves: 6


  • 2 Tbsp. lime juice
  • 2 tsp. salt, divided
  • 2 tsp. ground black pepper, divided
  • 1 1⁄2 lbs. firm white fish fillets
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 medium onions, peeled and sliced into thin rings
  • 2 medium tomatoes, seeded and diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3⁄4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 2 cups vegetable oil
  • 1 1⁄2 cups all-purpose flour, divided
  • 1⁄2 cup cornmeal
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1⁄4 cup chopped scallions
  • 1⁄4 cup chopped parsley


  • Combine lime juice, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper in a shallow dish. Add fish and marinate, covered, for 30 minutes in the refrigerator.
  • Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onions and cook until soft, about 5 to 8 minutes. Add tomatoes, garlic, bay leaf, vinegar, 1⁄2 teaspoon salt, and 1⁄2 teaspoon pepper. Reduce heat to low and simmer 10 minutes. Remove bay leaf.
  • Heat vegetable oil in a deep skillet to 350°F.
  • In a shallow bowl, whisk together 1 cup flour, cornmeal, and remaining 1⁄2 teaspoon each salt and pepper. Place remaining flour in another shallow bowl. Whisk eggs lightly in a third shallow bowl.
  • Dredge fish fillets in the plain flour. Dip each fillet in beaten egg (allow excess to drip off) and then in cornmeal mixture. Fry fish in oil, in batches if necessary, until crispy and cooked through (about 2 to 3 minutes per side). Drain on paper towels.
  • Layer fish with the tomatoes and onions in a serving dish, and sprinkle scallions and parsley on top. Serve warm.