Lionfish Escabeche with Avocado

  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 x 3oz skin-on lionfish fillets (1 inch thick)
  • 2 tbsp canola oil
  • 1 carrot, thinly sliced on a mandoline
  • ½ small red onion, thinly sliced
  • ½ red bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • ½ cup sherry vinegar
  • 1 tbsp agave nectar
  • 2 tsp mustard seeds, toasted
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 fresh thyme sprig
  • 2 cups 1 inch diced ripe avocado
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • Fresh cilantro leaves

Combine the flour, one teaspoon salt, and ½ teaspoon pepper on a plate. Dredge the fish fillets in the seasoned flour, tapping off the excess.

Place a large skillet over high heat and coat with the vegetable oil. When the oil is shimmering, lay the fish fillets in the pan and cook for five to six minutes. You want a good sear, so don’t move the fish around. Turn the fillets over and sear the other side for another two minutes until just about cooked through.

Remove the fillets to an eight by eight-inch baking dish. Scatter the carrot, onion, and pepper on top of the fish and set aside.

Place a small pot over medium heat and add the vinegar, 1/4 cup of water, agave, mustard seed, bay leaf, thyme, and remaining teaspoon of salt. When it reaches a boil, pour the marinade over the fish and cover with plastic wrap.

Marinate at room temperature for at least one hour or up to overnight in the refrigerator. If chilling, bring to room temperature before serving.

To serve, discard the thyme sprig and bay leaf. Divide the fish among four small plates and spoon the vegetables and their marinade on top. Scatter some chunks of avocado on top. Drizzle with olive oil and garnish with cilantro leaves.