Belgian Pickled Fish (Poissons a l'Escaveche) Recipe

Serves/Makes: 6 - 8 appetizer servings

Ingredients:

  • 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.

Notes:

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)

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