Saturday, January 19, 2019

Escabeche Cubano con Frijoles Negros

by HomeRearedChef (writer), San Jose, November 08, 2012

In the kitchen, cooking with my mother; making Cuban style Escabeche (es-kah-bech-ay)—fish dredged in salty, seasoned flour, pan-fried in olive oil, then marinated in herbs, spices and vinegar.

This very savory and highly seasoned fish is served cold or at room temperature, and it is traditionally served with Cuban Black Beans. We added ham shanks to the beans for an extra boost of flavor. It is a perfect meal to enjoy any day of the week, any time of the year.

My mother, a native Salvadoreña, is taking me on a kitchen tour, teaching me all of her favorite childhood and lifetime collected recipes. I will become her willing pupil, ready to learn everything she has to teach me. Because these are dishes that would otherwise be forgotten, if no-one took the time to learn, document, and continue to pass them on to the next generation.

Come; take a comfortable seat at our cozy table. Dinner is served!

This side dish recipe serves 6-8

STEPS 1 (dredge):

Have ready: Mix 1½ cups all-purpose flour, 6 tablespoons sea salt, and 1 teaspoon black pepper

STEPS 2 (frying fish):

1 cup olive oil for cooking (more or less as needed for depth of 1/2-inch)

Seasoned flour from steps 1

3½ pounds halibut (cut [roughly] into 5x2 inch pieces, and about 1/2-inch thickness), lightly coated/brushed with extra-virgin olive oil

  • In a medium to large sauté pan, on the large burner, set on medium, heat oil
  • Dredge fish in seasoned flour, and cook fish until light-golden brown, 3 to 4 minutes per side (do not overcook fish). Place cooked fish on [deep] platter for marinating. Reserve whatever oil remains in the pan for sautéing vegetables in next steps.

STEPS 3 (marinade & putting it all together):

Reserved oil from fish fry

1 large red onion, peeled, sliced into 3/8-inch half moons

3 medium bell peppers, seeded, 1/2-inch strips sliced

6 large garlic cloves, peeled, thinly sliced

2 bay leaves

1 teaspoon sea salt

1/2 teaspoon cumin

1/4 teaspoon coriander

1½ cups apple cider vinegar

12 ounces seedless olives (we used jalapeño stuffed)

1/3 cup capers

  • In the same pan fish fried in (with reserved oil), on medium heat, add onion thru coriander, and cook about 10 minutes.
  • Add the rest of the ingredients: salt thru capers, and cook, covered, on medium-low heat, an additional 10-15 minutes, or until the bell peppers are just pliable and slightly tender (do not let the peppers get mushy soft, you want some texture left).
  • Remove from heat, and immediately, but carefully, pour over the cooked fish. Allow to cool completely before refrigerating. Allow to marinate at least 2 hours, and preferably 24 hours for optimum flavor.

Serve with Cuban Black Beans (optional), recipe follows below.

Cuban Black Beans with Ham Shanks

Steps 1 (cooking ham shanks):

Note: These shanks were cooked in a crock pot, 12-hours overnight.

2 pounds meaty ham shanks

1/2 onion, peeled and finely chopped

1 cup chicken stock

1/2 cup brandy

1 bay leaf

In a medium to large crock pot add all ingredients, cover and set to low. Cook 8-12 hours, or until almost falling-apart tender. When ready, break up into comfortable eating chunks, and reserve meat and its liquid to add to beans later.

Steps 2 (putting it together):

1 pound black beans, picked over for rocks, rinsed and [preferably] soaked overnight in cold water.

4 cups chicken stock (enough to cover beans about 1/2 to 1 inch)

2 tablespoons [rendered] bacon fat, or lard

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 medium onion, peeled, finely diced

6 large garlic cloves, peeled, minced

1 bell pepper, seeded, medium diced

1 bay leaf

A light sprinkle of sea salt

1 (6-oz) can tomato paste

Cooked hams shanks with cooking broth

Salt to taste

  • Place strained beans (from the overnight water) into a large-enough pot, add chicken stock, and bring to a rapid boil. Cover pot, lower heat to keep a light simmer going. Meanwhile…
  • In a sauté pan heat fats to sizzling, add the vegetables, bay leaf and salt and cook until onions are translucent. Immediately add sautéed veggies mixture to the cooking beans, bring to another quick boil, lower to a simmer, cover pot, and cook until bean are just beginning to get tender, about 2 hours. Then…
  • After the 2 hours or so, add the paste, the ham, and adjust salt to taste. Simmer, covered, for 30-45 minutes or until the beans are tender to your personal liking.

Cook with heart; eat with gusto. Buen Provecho!

About the Writer

HomeRearedChef is a writer for BrooWaha. For more information, visit the writer's website.
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9 comments on Escabeche Cubano con Frijoles Negros

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By melanie jean juneau on November 08, 2012 at 02:28 pm

you a cooking historian, a genological chef!

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By HomeRearedChef on November 08, 2012 at 02:46 pm

Wow! Thank you, Melanie, that is a lovely thing to say. :)

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By Uttam Gill on November 09, 2012 at 02:26 am

!!!Master Chef!!!...Escabeche Cubano con Frijoles Negros...I am sure would be a delicious treat for anyone to eat… Virginia yours excellence in culinary art is matchless…Thanks fpr sharing one of the delicacy of your part of world..

Let me quote, Thomas Wolfe, that “There is no spectacle on earth more appealing than that of a beautiful woman in the act of cooking dinner for someone she loves.”…and surely your husband is so lucky to have great woman in his life… Don’t forget to invite guest too…lol…

“When men reach their sixties and retire, they go to pieces. Women go right on cooking.”

Lucky you women…Have a great cooking time…

We men folk have to learn….lol

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By HomeRearedChef on November 09, 2012 at 11:40 am

Uttam, you are AWESOME! You really know how to lift one's spirits and self-esteem. Thank you, friend. I almost feel like I should frame your comment. lol!

By the way, my husband and I always cook together. He ususally preps my veggies (he is a perfectionist there) and does the BBQing, and anything else I need help on. I am the one that usually comes up with new techniques and recipes.

And I always seem to be feeding, like, an army of people. :)

Have a wonderful weekend, Uttam!!

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By Barbara MacDonald on November 09, 2012 at 11:49 am

I must be truthful and admit I do not like seafood or fish much....but the fact that this is fried and hopefully spicy makes me think I would like it...It is so nice your husband cooks with you...My son does most of the cooking with his family...I insisted he learn so he was capable of always taking care of himself...he turned out to have a passion for cooking also, like his Mother does...have a great weekend Virginia...:-)

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By souschef on November 09, 2012 at 02:54 pm

I love it when I find a recipe covering a complete meal!

That way I don't need to come up with a proper accompaniment.

These two lood fantastic together! Very nicely done!

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By HomeRearedChef on November 09, 2012 at 03:10 pm

This recipe is actually an acquired taste. If you like fish...if you like vinegar... I love it, of course, but then I like fish and vinegar flavored things. :)

By the way, my son, too, loves to cook, and is actually very good in creating new dishes. So I know we are both proud of our sons.

Have a very lovely weekend, too, Barbara!

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By HomeRearedChef on November 09, 2012 at 03:12 pm

Thank you, Souschef! The black beans are such an excellent pairing with this fish. Yum! Now I want me some. lol!

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By Barbara MacDonald on November 09, 2012 at 03:58 pm

Thank you Virginia, yes very true...and his fiance certainly is happy...:-)

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