When I first moved to Spain I frequently saw tins of fish in escabeche or mussels in escabeche in the supermarkets, but I never really liked the look of them. I’m quite an adventurous eater, but the tins didn’t really catch my attention and when I tried them I wasn’t that impressed. When my friend Nasi said she wanted to cook Estornino en Escabeche for the La Murta cookery book I was intrigued. Would this be different, would it change my mind?

I think escabeche is a Marmite type dish, you either love it or hate it. I love it, when it’s home made!

Nasi making Escabeche

Nasi making Escabeche

Escabeche is found all around the Mediterranean, it is usually made with fish or seafood (sometimes with chicken, game or rabbit) and consists of an acidic marinade of vegetables & vinegar. This recipe works well with any oily fish – mackerel, herring or bonito. It is often served cold the next day after the flavours have had plenty of time to be absorbed. Make sure you have plenty of fresh Spanish bread for dipping in the sauce!

This recipe for Estornino en Escabeche was cooked by Nasi Conesa Fernández, one of the youngest chefs in the La Murta cook book. Nasi also cooked this recipe for the Gastronomic Society, who enjoyed it immensely.

Recipe for Mackerel in Brine – Receta de Estornino en Escabeche – Spanish Recipe



  • 1 kg de estornino
  • 2 cabezas de ajos
  • 4 hojas de laurel
  • 1 cucharadita pequeña de pimiento molido
  • Sal
  • 300 g guisantes o alcachofas
  • El Escabeche – todo picado en el mortero:
  • 3 dientes de ajo
  • 1 copa de vinagre
  • 2 copas de agua o más
  • 1 cucharadita pequeño de pimiento molido
  • 2 hojas de laurel


  • 1 kg mackerel
  • 2 heads garlic
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • Salt
  • 300 g peas and/or artichokes
  • The brine – crush the following in a pestle & mortar:
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 glass wine vinegar
  • 2 glasses water
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 2 bay leaves



  1. Para limpiar el pescado se lava bien, se corta en rodajas, y se deja unos minutos en el frigorífico así al freírlo no se rompe.
  2. Se fríe el pescado y unos dientes de ajo, también las alcachofas y los guisantes, las hojas de laurel y la pimienta y sal.
  3. Cuando esté todo frito se le añade el escabeche.
  4. Se deja hervir unos minutos y lista, se puede servir frío.


  1. Wash the fish well, cut into slices (about 10cm) and leave for a few minutes in the fridge so that the pieces don't break when frying.
  2. Fry the fish with a few cloves of garlic, add the peas and/or artichokes, the bay leaves and salt & pepper.
  3. When everything is fried add the brine, cook for a few minutes and it's ready.
  4. Serve hot or cold.


front-cover-8x8-outline-smallerSpanish Village Cooking – Recetas del Campo… Over 150 simple, family recipes from a rural village in Spain… Enjoy over 150 simple, family recipes from a small village in Murcia. These recipes have been handed down through generations, grandmother to mother to daughter, making use of local, homegrown ingredients and traditional cooking methods. The chefs of La Murta generously share their secrets, so you can enjoy fresh, Spanish food from the heart of the Sierra del Carrascoy.

This book is in English & Spanish, in Print & in Kindle editions.

Get the book from the Fiesta Committee in La Murta or from Amazon from www.NativeSpain.com

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