Aromatic Marinade of Sherry Vinegar and Spices

Escabeche is a marinade, cooking technique and Nature’s preservative all in one. It is also one of the most delicious ways of preserving fish and partridge. The flavours of the spices and vegetables infuse into the vinegar and wine, which in turn permeate the flesh of the fish. Following is our favourite recipe for this classic style of cooking. It makes a mouth-wateringly sour dish and, because of the high acidity, protects the food from going off.


  • 2 red onions
  • 60 ml (2 fl oz/¼ cup) extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely sliced pinch of saffron threads
  • 2 carrots, julienned
  • 250 ml (9 fl oz/1 cup) white wine vinegar
  • 250 ml (9 fl oz/1 cup) white wine
  • 1 tablespoon black peppercorns
  • 1 large handful flat-leaf (Italian) parsley, sprigged


Cut the onions into 5 mm (¼ inch) thick wedges. Heat the olive oil in a heavy-based frying pan over low heat. Add the onion, bay leaves, garlic and saffron. Cover and cook for 15 minutes, or until the onion is soft and translucent, stirring occasionally. Do not allow the onion to brown.

Add the carrot, cover and continue cooking for 15 minutes, or until the carrot begins to soften. Add the wine vinegar, wine, peppercorns, 250 ml (9 fl oz/1 cup) water and 1 teaspoon salt. Bring to the boil over high heat then reduce to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes, allowing the ingredients to infuse and the wine to cook out.

Remove from the heat and allow to cool. Stir through the parsley. Store, covered, in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.