Cowpeas in Orange-Fennel Escabeche

© Nicolas Carton

Escabeche is a Spanish way to marinate ingredients like fish, chicken, seafood or vegetables. It was traditionally used to preserve them. It can be twisted to include pulses, in the form of tempeh for instance, or like here, just cooked. 


  • 200 g cowpeas “fesol de l’ull ros”, cooked, or any other pulse that stays whole when cooked. For extra taste, cook your pulse with the same blend of spices and herbs that comes next.
  • 80 ml olive oil
  • 40 ml apple cider vinegar
  • 70 ml orange juice
  • 10 ml lemon juice
  • 2 medium garlic cloves
  • 150 g fennel in 1 mm slices
  • Salt
  • 1 tbsp orange zest (optional)
  • Spices to taste: a mixture of black and/or white pepper, coriander seeds, chili flakes, cinnamon, clove. Alternatively, replace it with a tsp “allspice” blend.
  • Herbs to taste: two bay leaves, a few leaves of fresh or dry rosemary and/or sage.


  1. Heat the olive oil in a saucepan over medium-high heat and add the crushed garlic, without the skins.
  2. Add the fennel and season to taste with salt and pepper.
  3. Cook the fennel over a medium heat (gentle boiling). Stir constantly so that the salt mixes well and the fennel releases its juices, browns slightly and softens (5 minutes).
  4. Add the vinegar, citrus fruit juices, herbs, spices and orange zest.
  5. Add the cooked cowpeas. If they are not well covered by the liquid, add a little water. Simmer until well reduced, especially if water has been added.
  6. Set aside and ideally wait a few hours before draining. The draining liquid can be used as a dressing.

Suggestion: serve cold with a fresh fennel-orange-garlic salad (as on the picture).

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