Kingfish is a firm white fish with a stronger taste and cheaper price point that can dry out, but is delicious when fried, cooled and marinated in vinegar and spices. This style of preparation is called escabeche and is of Spanish, Portuguese, Filipino and Latin American origin. Chicken, rabbit, pork or eggplant are also commonly cooked this way. I’ve also recently cooked whole mullet in this way, which was equally tasty.
500 – 600 g yellow & red cherry tomatoes
2 med Lebanese / baby eggplant, thickly sliced
4 tbsp + extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp smoked paprika
salt flakes & freshly cracked black pepper
1 onion, peeled & thickly sliced lengthwise
3 cloves garlic, sliced
1 red chilli, seeds removed & finely sliced
½ tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp ground allspice
4 x 150 g kingfish fillet pieces, dried with paper towel.
¼ cup red wine vinegar
2 tbsp aged Balsamic vinegar
½ cup fresh basil leaves
½ cup fresh mint leaves
1 tbsp toasted pine nuts
- Preheat oven to 220˚C.
- Place the tomatoes and eggplant on a baking tray, drizzle with a little olive oil and toss with the smoked paprika to cover. Season well.
- Bake 20 minutes until tomato skin has blistered and the eggplant soft and golden and reserve to the side.
- Heat 3 tbsp olive oil in a heavy-based frying pan and gently fry the onion and garlic together with the cinnamon and allspice until softened. Reserve in a bowl to the side.
- Add the remaining tablespoon of olive oil to the pan and fry the fish for 2 – 3 minutes before turning and then topping with the onion mixture. Pour over the red wine vinegar and gentle shuffle the pan to loosen the fish.
- Transfer to a platter; pour over the Balsamic and leave to cool. Serve with the cherry tomatoes and eggplant and garnish with the basil, mint and toasted pine nuts.