Pickles and fish, you say? Wipe that look off your face – pickled fish is wonderful anytime, but especially in the summertime because you can make it ahead and let it meld. The Italians do a version of this, but I like the spicy Mexican version offered here. You can use fish or shellfish, but you must fry the fish – or, at least, grill it. This is not ceviche, where citrus juice is used to “cook” the fish.
We like to take this to events – we’re doing it for the Natick Visiting Nurses Association annual Fresh Taste event tonight – because it’s a great make-ahead dish and people like to try new fish preparation. And next time you’re invited to a barbecue, bring this along.
Mariscos en Escabeche
2 pounds bay scallops, patted dry
12 cloves garlic mashed with 2 teaspoons salt
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1-1/2 Cups all-purpose flour
1 Cup olive oil
4 bay leaves
1 each large red and green bell peppers, diced
1 large yellow onion, diced
2-3 fresh hot chilies, sliced
1 pint cherry tomatoes, sliced
2 Cups distilled white vinegar
1 pound extra-large cooked shrimp, peeled and diced
Lightly rub the scallops with half the garlic, and season with salt and pepper on both sides; let sit for 20 minutes. Place flour in a shallow plate, and dredge the scallops lightly in flour to coat, shaking to remove excess.
Heat oil in a 12″ skillet over medium-high heat. Working in batches, add scallops to coat the bottom of the pan, and cook, tossing once or twice, until lightly browned on both sides and cooked through, about 1-2 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer scallops to a serving bowl or platter; add the shrimp and set aside.
Add remaining garlic to oil, and cook, stirring, until golden brown, about 1 minute. Add bay leaves, peppers, onions, tomatoes, and chilies. Cook, stirring, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add vinegar, and bring to a boil; cook for 2 minutes.
Pour over scallops and shrimp. Let sit at room temperature for 1 hour before serving.