What is Escabeche?
Escabeche — or escabeche de pescado — is essentially the Spanish version of pickling foods. A protein — in this case salmon — is quickly seared on both sides, then topped with a mixture of olive oil and vinegar. The marinade will cure the salmon, allowing it to continue cooking while it sits. So yes, the inside may look under cooked, but actually it’s perfect.
For The Salmon:
- 1½ lb skin-on salmon: This is Atlantic salmon, though you can check out our salmon guide for more information on the different species.
- all-purpose flour
- kosher salt
- lemon zest
- garlic powder
For The Marinade:
- extra virgin olive oil
- red wine vinegar (or other vinegar)
- serrano chile
Recommended For Serving: sun dried tomatoes, black olives, fresh dill (or other fresh herbs), and of course toasted bread!
How to Make Escabeche With Any Fish
Yes, you can make this with fish than salmon! Common iterations include red snapper, sole, black cod, or even shrimp!
- Combine dry ingredients in a small bowl
- Coat the salmon with flour mixture in an even layer, pressing down gently onto top of salmon.
- Allow salmon to sit it in a refrigerator for about 2 hours.
- Shake off excess flour, then pan fry salmon in olive oil over high heat.
Cook Time For Salmon Escabeche
Sear the flesh side first (for 4 minutes), carefully flip, then continue cooking for 2-3 minutes longer until skin is crispy. Slide the salmon out onto a rimmed tray or into a bowl with deep sides.
Finally, pour the marinade on top and let the salmon cure for a few hours.
How Long to Marinate Escabeche
Let salmon escabeche cure for a minimum of 2 hours, but longer is better. The flavor will intensify as it sits, so if you can leave the fish overnight in the marinade, it’ll be even more concentrated (and delicious!) the next day!
How To Serve
Right before serving, top the salmon escabeche with sliced black olives, chopped sun dried tomatoes, and fresh herbs. Dill is our favorite, but oregano or cilantro would taste great too!
The bright sweetness of the sun dried tomatoes plays off the tanginess of the marinade in a way that opens up the whole dish. And, well, olives add that brininess that we are just crazy about! It all just works.
Is Escabeche Spicy?
If you or your guests like things hot, definitely feel free to substitute a spicier chile pepper, or simply use multiple! I love the gentle heat that using a serrano pepper adds.
If you want a more mild flavor, leave the pepper out entirely.
Is This Escabeche Recipe Gluten-Free?
This version is not gluten free, as the salmon is coated in all-purpose flour before searing. However, you could leave the flour off or use a gluten-free flour to coat. The other ingredients are naturally gluten-free! Just serve it as is and omit any bread.
What to Serve with Fish Escabeche
Honestly, my favorite way to serve this is smashed over a crusty piece of toasted bread. You could add a little mayonnaise or aioli to help cut the acidity, but it doesn’t need it.
This Mediterranean quinoa salad would make a wonderful side dish!
If you make this Salmon Escabeche recipe, please let us know by leaving a review and rating below!
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If you’re looking for other seafood entrées, check out these favorites of mine:
- Weeknight slow-baked salmon
- Easy homemade Thai curry with scallops and string beans
- How to grill lobster tails and clams
- Salmon piccata recipe
- Spaghetti alle vongole (pasta with clams!)
- Crispy pan-seared salmon with lemon parmesan cream sauce
Make-Ahead Marinated Salmon Escabeche with Olives
For the fish:
- 1½ lbs salmon skin-on
- 2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
- 2 tsp Kosher salt
- 2 tsp lemon, zested, about 1 lemon
- ½ tsp granulated garlic
- ½ tsp sumac
For the marinade:
- ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
- ¼ cup red wine vinegar, or white wine vinegar
- 1 large shallot, thinly sliced
- 1 small serrano chile, thinly sliced
- ⅓ cup black or kalamata olives, sliced
- ¼ cup sun dried tomatoes, chopped
- Fresh dill, for garnish
- Bread, toasted
- Make the dredge. In a small bowl, combine 2 Tbsp AP flour, 2 tsp Kosher salt, 2 tsp lemon zest, ½ tsp garlic, and ½ tsp sumac, then whisk to combine.
- Dry the salmon. Pat salmon dry on both sides, then place on a plate or tray. Pour flour mixture on top of the fish, pressing gently onto the salmon, then cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 hours.
- Meanwhile, make the marinade. Combine ½ cup olive oil, ¼ cup red wine vinegar, thinly sliced shallots, and thinly sliced serrano pepper in a medium bowl. Whisk, then set aside.
- Cook the salmon. When ready, preheat a large skillet over high heat. Add 2 Tbsp olive oil. Shake any excess flour off of salmon, then sear flesh side down for 4 minutes, undisturbed. Carefully flip the fish using a fish spatula, then sear skin side down for an additional 3 minutes. Transfer salmon to a bowl or dish with deep sides, then immediately pour the marinade on top. If eating that day, leave fish on counter to cure for at least 2 hours. If serving the next day, cover fish and place in refrigerator overnight. Salmon is best when served at room temperature, so make sure to bring it out 1-2 hours before serving.
- Garnish, then serve. To serve, pour ⅓ cup sliced olives and ¼ cup sun dried tomatoes on top, then garnish with fresh dill. Can be eaten as is or smushed on top of sliced, toasted bread.
- The flavor of fish escabeche intensifies the longer it sits — we recommend serving it the next day after resting in a refrigerator overnight.
- You can substitute the serrano pepper with a spicier chile if you like more heat. Alternatively, you can omit the pepper altogether if you want a more mild flavor.
- If you don’t have fresh dill, oregano or cilantro also work well.
- Other types of seafood for escabeche: red snapper, sole, or black cod! Shrimp works well too.