This sea bass escabeche recipe from Marcello Tully is based on a simple Amazonian recipe that uses just a few key ingredients to add delicious sweet and sour flavour to the fish. The term escabeche refers to the acidic mixture which the sea bass is marinated and cooked in – here the acidity comes from citrus fruits with fresh orange and lime juice used in the marinade and tomato sauce. Wrapping the fish in a banana leaf helps to hold in all the flavour while steaming on the barbecue, although tin foil would work just as well.
When Brazilian-born chef Marcello Tully started his career at 14, he may not have anticipated working on the starkly beautiful island of Skye - but then he probably didn’t expect to be crafting some of the most exquisitely refined Scottish-influenced food on the planet, either.
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Please the sea bass in a shallow dish with the orange juice. Season with salt and pepper, then cover and marinate in the fridge for 2 hours
4 whole sea bass
100ml of fresh orange juice
freshly ground black pepper
After marinating, remove from the fridge and drain the juice into a cup or jug, reserving for use in the sauce
Add a dash of sunflower oil to a pan and place over a medium heat. Sweat down the chopped onions and garlic for 2–3 minutes without allowing them to colour, stirring regularly so that they become soft and translucent
1 dash of sunflower oil
50g of onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
Add the chopped tomatoes and pepper to the onions and garlic, along with the coriander, lime juice and sugar. Stir together, then pour in the reserved orange from the marinade
500g of tomatoes, skinned and deseeded
60g of red pepper, chopped
5g of fresh coriander, chopped
20ml of lime juice
5g of sugar
Bring the sauce to the boil then remove from the heat and allow to cool while preheating the barbecue
Place each sea bass in the centre of a banana leaf (or large piece of foil) and slash a few times with a sharp knife to help the flavours penetrate while cooking. Spoon over the sauce, dividing equally between the 4 parcels
4 banana leaves, for cooking (optional)
Wrap up the banana leaves around each fish to seal completely. Place on the barbecue grill and cook for 20–25 minutes, turning the parcels over a few times during cooking to ensure the fish cooks through evenly
Check the fish is cooked through – it should flake easily and have reached 58–60°C if using a temperature probe
Serve straight from the banana leaf, garnished with a few extra sprigs of coriander
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