Saturday, March 31, 2012


Marinated fried fish.
Last week I wrote about escabeche, a tangy marinade used for cooked foods. To follow up on that, here is another popular marinade, adobo.

Adobo is a mixture of spices and vinegar used to marinate fish or meat before cooking. Before the days of refrigeration, both adobo and escabeche were used to conserve foods.

Fish in adobo marinade.
Adobo marinades usually contain wine vinegar, oregano, garlic and pimentón (paprika). Pork and solid-fleshed fish such as shark are good candidates for adobo marinades. The food to be marinated is submerged in the mixture for 24 hours (for fish) to several days (for meat). A whole pork loin in its vinegar marinade would keep for a week or two in cold weather. Then it could be sliced and fried in oil to make a quick and satisfying meal.

Bites of Marinated Fish

This is a popular tapa throughout Andalusia. Bienmesabe means, more or less, “yummies.” The tapa is also called cazón en adobo. Cazón is tope shark or dogfish, which is perked up nicely with a tangy, adobo marinade. Any solid-fleshed fish, such as monkfish (angler fish), could be substituted. I used small pintaroja, (lesser spotted dogfish), cut crosswise into chunks. 

Makes about 45 pieces.

Shake off excess flour.
2 pounds shark or angler fish (monkfish) fillets
3 tablespoons olive oil
5 tablespoons wine vinegar
1 tablespoon water
3 cloves chopped garlic
¼ teaspoon pimentón (paprika)
¼ teaspoon hot pimentón (optional)
1 teaspoon crumbled dry oregano
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
½ teaspoon salt
Flour for dredging fish
Olive oil for frying

Cut the fish into 1 ½-inch cubes, discarding any skin and bone. Put the cubes in a non-reactive container.

Mix together the oil, vinegar, water, garlic, pimentón, oregano, pepper and salt. Pour over the fish and mix well. Marinate for at least 6 hours and up 48 hours.

Drain the fish well, dredge it in flour, shake off the excess and fry the pieces a few at a time in hot oil until golden and crisp. Drain on kitchen towels and serve hot.

Fish in adobo has tangy flavor.


  1. This looks great! You are outdoing yourself, Janet!

    1. Donna: Thanks! I shared this dish with friends.