Along the Gulf and Lower Atlantic coasts, few fish inspire as much loyalty and love as red drum. This recipe gives it a traditional Spanish treatment by cooking it en escabeche — a method that often has you barely cook the fish in a tomato-based sauce with paprika and lots of vinegar. You can serve immediately or let it marinate in the sauce and serve cold or at room temperature the next day.
½ teaspoon smoked paprika
½ teaspoon ground chili pepper
Pinch of granulated white sugar
Freshly ground black pepper
1 pound Mauritius red drum filet
Oil, for cooking
½ yellow onion, cut into thin rings
½ red or yellow bell pepper, chopped
¼ cup white wine vinegar
1 cup crushed tomatoes
1 tablespoon fresh oregano or parsley leaves
1 avocado, peeled and sliced in wedges
Toss paprika, chili pepper, sugar, a pinch of salt and a few grinds of black pepper together in a small bowl, then rub spice mix onto fish.
Heat a glug of olive oil in a medium nonstick pan and when it’s shimmering hot, place the fish skin-side down in the pan. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes and flip. Cook for another few minutes, remove from pan and set fish aside.
Add onions and peppers to the pan and cook until onions are translucent, about 5 minutes.
Add the vinegar and tomato and bring to a simmer. Taste and add salt and pepper as needed. Add oregano or parsley leaves to the sauce.
Return fish to the pan and cook for a few minutes in the sauce.
Plate family-style and arrange fish with sauce and avocado wedges.