Mahi Mahi Escabeche

This robust starter combines fish, corn, red bell peppers and red onion marinated in a tangy mixture of rich sherry wine vinegar and nutty brown butter. Serve with crusty bread to soak up the tasty juices. The fish marinates for an hour after cooking; it can also be refrigerated for up to one day, then brought to room temperature before serving.


  • (Serves 4 to 6 as a first course)
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 pound skinless mahi mahi, cut into 4 or 6 pieces
  • 1 cup fresh corn kernels
  • 1 medium-sized red bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 medium-sized red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup fresh lemon balm, Italian parsley, cilantro, or mint leaves, coarsely chopped, plus additional herb leaves for garnish
  • 3/4 cup sherry wine vinegar
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon brown, black, or yellow mustard seeds
  • 1 tablespoon peppercorn blend or grains of paradise, coarsely ground
  • Crusty bread

Cook the butter in a heavy saucepan over medium-low heat until the milk solids start to brown on the bottom of the pan and a nutty aroma develops, about 4 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and let stand for 1 minute. Carefully spoon the foam off the top. Carefully spoon the clear butter into a heavy large skillet, leaving the browned bits behind.

Place the flour on a plate. Heat the butter in the skillet over medium-high heat. Dip the mahi mahi in the flour to coat on both sides. Transfer to the skillet and cook until brown on the first side, about 3 minutes. Turn the fish over, reduce the heat to medium-low, cover the pan and cook until the fish is almost firm to the touch and appears just opaque in the center when cut into with a small sharp knife, about 5 minutes longer. Transfer the fish to a small glass baking dish or bowl; pour any butter in the skillet over the fish. Add the corn, bell pepper, onion and chopped herbs to the dish.

Combine the sherry wine vinegar, water, mustard seeds and ground pepper in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Pour the mixture over the fish and vegetables. Cover and let stand at room temperature for 1 hour. Divide the fish, vegetables and marinade between 4 or 6 shallow bowls. Garnish with additional fresh herbs. Serve with crusty bread.