Belgian Pickled Fish (Poissons a l'Escaveche) Recipe

Serves/Makes: 6 - 8 appetizer servings


  • 1 pound eel, cleaned, skinned and cut into 2-inch lengths
  • 1 pound perch, cut into pieces 2 inches thick
  • 1 pound pike, cut into pieces 2 inches thick
  • 1 pound carp, cut into pieces 2 inches thick
  • 1 teaspoon plus 1 tablespoon salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/3 cup plus 4 tablespoons flour
  • 9 tablespoons butter
  • 3 medium-sized onions (about 1 pound), peeled, cut crosswise into 1/8-inch-thick slices and separated into rings
  • 2 medium-sized lemons, peeled and cut crosswise into 1/8-inch-thick slices
  • 2 cups dry white wine
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup white wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon crumbled dried tarragon
  • 10 whole peppercorns
How to cook Belgian Pickled Fish (Poissons a l'Escaveche):
  • Pat the pieces of eel, perch, pike, and carp completely dry with paper towels. Sprinkle the fish on all sides with 1 teaspoon of the salt and a few grindings of black pepper.
  • Dip each piece in the 1/3 cup of flour and, when it is evenly coated, shake vigorously to remove any excess. In a heavy 10- to 12-inch skillet, melt 6 tablespoons of the butter over moderate heat.
  • When the foam begins to subside, fry the fish a few pieces at a time until they are golden brown on both sides. As they brown, transfer the fish to paper towels to drain.
  • With a small knife,remove the skin and bones from the perch, pike and carp.Then arrange the fish, including the eel, in one layer in an enameled or glass casserole at least 2 inches deep and large enough to hold them comfortably.Spread the onions and lemons over the fish and set aside.
  • Meanwhile, in a 2- to 3-quart enameled or stainless-steel saucepan, melt the remaining 3 tablespoons of butter over moderate heat. Stir in the remaining 4 tablespoons of flour and mix together thoroughly.
  • Pour in the wine, water and vinegar, and stirring constantly with a whisk, cook over high heat until the sauce comes to a boil and thickens lightly.
  • Add the tarragon, peppercorns and the remaining tablespoon of salt, reduce the heat to low, and simmer for about 5 minutes to remove any raw taste of the flour.
  • Pour the sauce over the fish and cool to room temperature. Cover tightly with foil or plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 days before serving as a light luncheon dish or first course.
  • Serve the Belgian Pickled Fish (Poissons a l'Escaveche) cold as an appetizer with crackers.


The Belgian name of the Pickled Fish recipe is (Poissons a l'Escaveche). The Poissons a l'Escaveche is a traditional Belgian recipe for a classic starter of mixed freshwater fish that are fried and pickled with onions and lemons in a mix of white wine and white wine vinegar.

How to clean Eel:

Wash Eel thoroughly up to half an hour in cold clean water, followed by very careful scraping, may be necessary to remove final traces of slime. Gut the washed eels, taking care to slit the belly 1 inch or so beyond the vent in order to remove the kidney; scrub the gut cavity and wash it out carefully to remove all traces of blood from the backbone and throat, and then rinse the eels again.

This recipe for Belgian Pickled Fish (Poissons a l'Escaveche) serves/makes: 6 - 8 appetizer servings

The Belgian Pickled Fish (Poissons a l'Escaveche) recipe and the pictures are adopted from The Our Favorite Fish & Seafood Recipes Cookbook.

Main Ingredient: Eel (more Eel recipes)
Preparation Method: Marinated/Uncooked (more Marinated/Uncooked recipes)
Cuisine: Belgian (more Belgian recipes)

More in Eel ~ Marinated/Uncooked recipes:

  • Polish Tasty Pickled Pike ~ Marinated Pike Recipe - Polish recipe how to marinated northern pike fillets with white vinegar, Saturn wine, onions, vinegar, sugar and pickling spices.
  • Italian Marinated Eel (Anguilla Marinata) ~ Marinated Eel Recipe - Italian recipe how to cook marinated eel with olive oil, onions, garlic, dried thyme, bay leaves, peppercorns, white wine vinegar, lemon juice, flour, and cucumber.
  • German Blue Eel ~ Eel Recipe - German recipe how to cook eel with vinegar, onion, bay leaf, peppercorns, thyme, lemon, and parsley.
  • Berlin Fresh Eel Soup ~ Eel Soup Recipe - German recipe how to cook fresh eel with light beer, May Wine, pumpernickel, thyme, butter, and bay leaf. Aal Berliner.
  • Conger Eel Stew from Braganca ~ Conger Eel Stew Recipe - recipe how to cook stew with conger eel, olive oil, onion, vinegar, bread, egg yolks, parsley, and bay leaf. Portuguese recipe.
  • Deep Fried Sand Eels ~ Deep Fried Eels Recipe - recipe how to deep fry sand eels with milk, flour and oil for deep-frying. French recipe.
  • Eel in Green Sorrel Sauce ~ Simmered Eel Recipe - recipe how to simmer eel with sorrel, celery tops, parsley, mint, sage, chervil, lemon balm, and summer savory, onion and vinegar. Belgian recipe.
  • Fried Eel Fillets Dutch Style ~ Pan Fried Halibut Smelt Recipe - recipe how to fry eel fillets with flour, rusks, butter, lemon slices, parsley, and lettuce. Dutch recipe.
  • German Grilled Eel ~ Eel Recipe - German recipe how to cook eel with olive oil, lemon juice, marjoram, and Parmesan cheese.

Free Fish & Seafood Recipes

^ Back to Top