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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.
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.