escabeche: to cool cooked meat, fish or vegetables in an acidic vinaigrette before serving

Escabeche is a traditionally Spanish method of preparing food and typically is used with vegetables and fish. As the food cools it pulls the acidity of the vinaigrette into its cells creating a dish that is light and bright and surprising and more than the sum of its parts. This is effectively marinading in reverse. The dressing in which the food is cooled becomes part of the final product as opposed to a marinade that is left behind.


  • Make a vinaigrette or acidic marinade
  • Sear, grill or roast a piece of food
  • Immediately plunge the food into the marinade and allow to cool
  • Serve either room temperature or cool

Things to know

  • Flavors are more intense at warmer temperatures. Because these dishes can be very intense it is best served either at room temperature or cool.
  • The acidity will also help preserve the food. Escabeched foods will keep in the fridge for a week or so.
  • The acidic nature of escabeche pairs well with rich fish or cheese
  • The make-ahead nature of escabeche makes it a good technique for parties or busy weeks

Hallmarks of Success

  • A delightfully bright, light dish that is full of flavor
  • A way to do a lot of cooking in one day and eat it throughout the rest of the week

Trouble Shooting

  • If the final product has flabby flavors or is food that isn’t exciting, add more acid to the marinade