Salvadoran-Style Pescado Frito (Fried Fish)


Delicate, meltingly tender whole trout gets crispy skin from a quick sear in a cast-iron skillet.

Active Time:
20 mins
Total Time:
20 mins

Inspired by her mother's cooking, Karla Vasquez's recipe celebrates this popular style of cooking fish in El Salvador. Many families use mojarra, a fish found in agua dulce (fresh water), but trout makes a great substitute. Salsa Inglesa, or Worcestershire sauce, is a frequent find in Salvadoran condiment drawers and teams up with the mustard to create a punchy, umami-packed crust.


  • 2 tablespoons coarse sea salt

  • 4 (10- to 12-ounce) whole trout, cleaned and skin scored

  • ¼ cup yellow mustard

  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder 

  • ½ medium-size red onion, thinly sliced (about 1 cup)

  • 1 cup vegetable oil 

  • Lime wedges, rice, and salad, for serving


  1. Rub 1 1/2 teaspoons salt evenly over outside and inside of each fish. Stir together mustard, Worcestershire sauce, and garlic powder in a small bowl. Spread evenly over outside and inside of each fish, covering completely.

  2. Stuff cavities of fish evenly with onion slices. Heat oil in a large, deep skillet over medium-high to 350°F. Carefully place 2 fish in hot oil, and cook until skin is browned and crispy, about 4 minutes. Flip fish, and cook just until flesh is white throughout, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack. Repeat with remaining 2 fish.

  3. Serve fish with lime wedges, rice, and salad.

    Salvadoran Style Pescado Frito (Fried Fish)
    Photo by Victor Protasio / Food Styling by Chelsea Zimmer / Prop Styling by Claire Spollen
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