Uruguayan Atún en Escabeche Recipe - Delicious and Unique

Atún en Escabeche - Pickled Tuna

Uruguayan Atún en Escabeche Recipe - Delicious and Unique
Region / culture: Uruguay | Preparation time: 30 minutes | Cooking time: 30 minutes | Servings: 4


Atún en Escabeche - Pickled Tuna
Atún en Escabeche - Pickled Tuna

Atún en Escabeche, or Pickled Tuna, is a traditional dish that combines the rich flavors of fresh tuna with the tangy zest of a vinegar-based marinade. This dish is a testament to the art of preserving fish, a technique that not only enhances the flavor but also extends the shelf life of seafood. Perfect for those who appreciate the delicate taste of tuna and the robust flavors of traditional pickling spices, this recipe offers a delightful culinary experience.


The tradition of escabeche dates back to medieval times, originating in the Mediterranean regions. It was a method used by fishermen and cooks to preserve their catch, utilizing vinegar and spices to keep the fish edible for longer periods. Over the centuries, the technique spread across Europe and the Americas, adapting to local tastes and available ingredients. Atún en Escabeche is a Spanish variant that highlights the country's love for both seafood and vibrant, acidic flavors.


How to prepare

  1. Cut the tuna into 4 pieces and coat them with flour. Fry the pieces in hot oil.
  2. Remove the fish from the oil.
  3. In the same oil, add the rinds, garlic cloves (cut in half with the skin still on), peeled and sliced onion, bay leaf, and six peppercorns. Mix everything well and add salt, vinegar, and water. Let it boil for a while.
  4. Remove from heat and place the fish in the marinade. Let it cool and absorb the flavors.
  5. Do not cook the fish any further.


  • For a sweeter version, add a tablespoon of honey or sugar to the marinade.
  • Include different spices such as cumin, coriander, or a pinch of saffron for a unique flavor twist.
  • Replace the tuna with other types of fish like mackerel or sardines for variation.

Cooking Tips & Tricks

To ensure the best results for your Atún en Escabeche, consider the following tips:

- Use the freshest tuna you can find for optimal flavor and texture.

- When frying the tuna, ensure the oil is hot enough so that the fish sears quickly, locking in the juices.

- Be generous with the vinegar in the marinade, as it's the key ingredient that gives this dish its distinctive pickled taste.

- Allow the tuna to marinate for at least 24 hours for the flavors to fully develop.

Serving Suggestions

Serve the Atún en Escabeche chilled or at room temperature, accompanied by a fresh green salad, roasted vegetables, or crusty bread to soak up the flavorful marinade. It can also be served as part of a tapas spread, offering a taste of Spanish cuisine.

Cooking Techniques

The key techniques in this recipe include frying the tuna to a golden perfection and simmering the marinade to blend the flavors. Mastery of these techniques ensures the fish is cooked just right and the marinade is flavorful and aromatic.

Ingredient Substitutions

If fresh tuna is unavailable, canned tuna (drained) can be used as a last resort.

- Apple cider vinegar can replace white vinegar for a slightly different flavor profile.

- For a gluten-free version, use cornstarch or a gluten-free flour blend instead of regular flour.

Make Ahead Tips

Atún en Escabeche is an excellent make-ahead dish, as the flavor improves with time. Prepare it a day or two in advance and store it in the refrigerator, allowing the tuna to marinate and soak up the flavors.

Presentation Ideas

Serve the tuna on a platter, garnished with lemon slices and fresh herbs. Drizzle some of the marinade over the top for added flavor and a visually appealing presentation.

Pairing Recommendations

Pair Atún en Escabeche with a crisp white wine, such as a Sauvignon Blanc or Albariño, to complement the tangy flavors of the marinade. A light beer or sparkling water with lemon can also be refreshing.

Storage and Reheating Instructions

Store the Atún en Escabeche in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. It is best enjoyed cold or at room temperature, so reheating is not necessary.

Nutrition Information

Calories per serving

A serving of Atún en Escabeche contains approximately 200-300 calories, depending on the size of the portion and the amount of oil used in cooking. This makes it a moderate-calorie dish suitable for those managing their calorie intake.


This dish is relatively low in carbohydrates, with the primary sources being the onions and the small amount of flour used for coating the tuna. The total carbohydrate content is approximately 10-15 grams per serving, making it a suitable option for low-carb diets.


The fat content in Atún en Escabeche primarily comes from the oil used for frying and the natural fats found in the tuna. Using a healthier oil such as olive oil can provide a good source of monounsaturated fats. The total fat content can vary but is generally moderate, making this dish a heart-healthy option.


Tuna is an excellent source of high-quality protein, essential for muscle repair and growth. A single serving of Atún en Escabeche can provide approximately 25-30 grams of protein, contributing significantly to the daily protein requirements of an average adult.

Vitamins and minerals

This dish is rich in vitamins and minerals, particularly those found in tuna, such as Vitamin D, B2 (riboflavin), B3 (niacin), B6, and B12. It is also a good source of minerals like magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, selenium, and iodine. The onions and garlic add additional vitamins and antioxidants, making Atún en Escabeche a nutritious choice.


The primary allergen present in this dish is fish (tuna), which can be a concern for individuals with fish allergies. Additionally, the flour used for coating may contain gluten, making it unsuitable for those with gluten sensitivities or celiac disease.


Atún en Escabeche is a nutritious dish that offers a good balance of proteins, healthy fats, and essential vitamins and minerals. It is low in carbohydrates and moderate in calories, making it a healthy option for various dietary preferences.


Atún en Escabeche is a flavorful, nutritious dish that showcases the traditional Spanish technique of pickling. With its rich protein content, healthy fats, and array of vitamins and minerals, it offers a delightful and healthy option for any meal. Whether served as a main dish or as part of a tapas spread, it's sure to impress with its vibrant flavors and textures.

How did I get this recipe?

The memory of discovering this recipe for the first time is a cherished one. It was a warm summer day, and I had just returned from a trip to Spain where I had learned so much about their rich culinary traditions. As I unpacked my bags, I found a small handwritten note tucked away in my suitcase. It was a recipe for Atún en Escabeche - Pickled Tuna.

I remember the excitement that washed over me as I read through the ingredients and instructions. Pickling was a technique I had always been curious about, but had never attempted myself. The combination of vinegar, olive oil, garlic, and spices sounded like a symphony of flavors that would make the taste buds dance.

The note had no name on it, just a list of ingredients and a few simple steps. I could only assume it was given to me by a kind stranger I had met on my travels. I felt a surge of gratitude for this unknown benefactor who had shared a piece of their culture with me.

Without hesitation, I set to work gathering the necessary ingredients. The star of the dish was, of course, the fresh tuna. I was lucky enough to have a local fisherman who supplied me with the finest catch of the day. I could almost taste the ocean as I marinated the tuna in a mixture of vinegar, olive oil, and spices.

As the tuna soaked up the flavors, I couldn't help but think back to all the times I had spent in the kitchen with my own grandmother. She was a master in the art of cooking, and I had learned so much from her over the years. It was her passion for food that had inspired me to travel the world in search of new recipes and techniques.

After marinating the tuna for several hours, I gently cooked it in a skillet until it was tender and flaky. The aroma that filled my kitchen was intoxicating - a blend of garlic, spices, and the tangy vinegar. I knew I was onto something special.

As I tasted the first bite of the Atún en Escabeche, I was transported back to the streets of Spain. The flavors were bold and complex, with a perfect balance of acidity and richness. It was a dish that spoke to the soul, a true celebration of the sea and the land.

I couldn't wait to share my creation with my family and friends. Their eyes lit up with delight as they took their first bites, savoring the layers of flavor that unfolded on their tongues. It was a moment of pure joy, knowing that I had brought a taste of Spain into their homes.

Since that day, Atún en Escabeche has become a staple in my kitchen. I have shared the recipe with countless others, passing down the tradition of pickling tuna from one generation to the next. Each time I make it, I am reminded of that warm summer day and the kindness of the stranger who had introduced me to this culinary gem.

As I sit here now, reflecting on the journey that led me to this recipe, I am filled with gratitude for all the experiences and people who have shaped my love for cooking. It is a passion that has brought me endless joy and connection, and I will continue to explore new flavors and techniques for as long as I am able.

And so, as I prepare to make another batch of Atún en Escabeche, I do so with a heart full of memories and a spirit of adventure. For in the kitchen, there is always something new to discover, and I am grateful for every moment spent creating and sharing the food that brings us together.


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