Escovitch-style fish with Scotch bonnet aioli

Escovitch-style fish with Scotch bonnet aioli

This is Shivi Ramoutar's take on traditional Jamaican escovitch fish. The whole Scotch bonnet chilli adds a subtle sweetness to the fried fish, while the sliced version in the pickle releases the fire. Think of it as a spicy variation on fish and chips! 

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  • Serves4
  • CourseMain meal
  • Prepare30 mins
  • Cook40 mins
  • Total time1 hr 10 mins

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  • 1kg new or baby potatoes
  • 5 tbsp olive oil
  • 6 clove/s garlic, smashed
  • 2 sprig/s thyme, leaves picked
  • 125ml vegetable oil, for frying, plus 1 tbsp
  • 1 tsp ground allspice
  • 2 Scotch bonnet chillies, 1 deseeded, pith removed and chopped, 1 left whole
  • 1 carrot, scrubbed and peeled into long ribbons
  • 1 onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 yellow pepper, thinly sliced
  • 180ml white wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp caster sugar
  • 3 limes, juice of 2, 1 cut into wedges
  • 6 tbsp plain flour
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 4 sea bass (or bream) fillets


  • 6 tbsp mayonnaise
  • 1 clove/s garlic
  • ¼ tsp paprika


  1. Preheat the oven to 200°C, gas mark 6. Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil and parboil the potatoes for 10 minutes; drain. In a large roasting tin, crush each potato with a potato masher or fork, making sure they fit in one single layer. Add the olive oil, 4 garlic cloves and the thyme; season and roast for 30 minutes until crispy. Meanwhile, for the aioli, mix together all the ingredients in a small bowl; season and set aside.

  2. Meanwhile, heat 1 tbsp vegetable oil in a large pan over a low heat, then add 1⁄2 tsp allspice, the chopped Scotch bonnet, the carrot, onion, yellow pepper and a pinch of salt; cook until softened (about 10 minutes). Add the vinegar and sugar, stir, then put the lid on and cook over a low heat for another 10 minutes. Turn off the heat, season and set aside.

  3. When ready to cook the fish, pour the lime juice into a wide shallow bowl. In another wide shallow bowl, mix together the flour and paprika. Dip both sides of the fish into the lime juice; season. Then dip into the flour mixture, ensuring both sides are well-coated. Pour 125ml vegetable oil into a large frying pan (so it completely covers the base), add the remaining 1⁄2 tsp allspice, the whole Scotch bonnet and the remaining 2 garlic cloves; set over a medium-high heat. Carefully add the fish to the pan and fry for 2-3 minutes on each side, until golden, crispy, opaque and cooked through, reducing the heat if necessary so that the fish doesn’t burn.

  4. Carefully remove the whole Scotch bonnet from the frying pan and slice in half. Discard one half. Remove the seeds and pith from the other half, chop finely and mix into the aioli. Pour 3 tbsp oil from the fish frying pan into the pickled veg pan and stir to combine. To serve, divide the crispy fish between 4 plates, pile the pickled veg on top along with some of the pickling liquor. Serve with the potatoes, a dollop of the Scotch bonnet aioli and the lime wedges. Any leftover pickled vegetables can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.


Typical values per serving when made using specific products in recipe


4,307kJ/ 1,034kcals



Saturated Fat












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