Jamaican Escoveitch Fish

This is traditionally served for breakfast on Sunday morning. Prepare the day before it is required.


  • 8 sardines, small mackerel or herrings, cleaned and gutted
  • 2 limes
  • salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • oil for deep-frying
  • 2 chayotes or courgettes
  • 2 onions
  • 3 chillies
  • 7 fl oz / 200 ml vinegar
  • 3 tbsp sunflower, groundnut (peanut) or olive oil
  • 12 allspice berries


Rub the fish with the juice of the two limes, salt and pepper. Fry in deep hot oil until brown, then drain on kitchen paper and arrange in a serving dish. Cut the chayotes or courgettes into 2 in / 5 cm. batons. Peel and thinly slice the onions, and deseed and slice the chillies into rings. Put the vegetables in a saucepan with the vinegar, oil and allspice. Bring to the boil, and simmer very gently for 10 minutes. Pour the hot marinade over the fish, allow to cool, and then refrigerate overnight.


For a similar dish, season the fish with cayenne pepper, ground coriander, ground cumin and ground cinnamon before frying. Make a marinade by mixing olive oil and lemon juice with finely chopped spring onion, tomato, garlic and chilli, and a little seasoning. Pour this over the fish, and then cover and refrigerate overnight.