Ackee & Saltfish
Recipe for the Jamaican national dish
If you travel to Jamaica, you will have to try Jamaica````````````````s national dish Ackee & Saltfish. Usually, it is eaten as a hearty breakfast.
Ackee is a fruit that was originally brought from West Africa to Jamaica. Like the lychees, it belongs to the family of the soaps tree plants and the fruits are poisonous in the immature and overripe condition. A mature fruit can be recognized by the fact that it has opened itself. Use only the pulp. The seeds must be removed, they are also toxic.
The yellow pulp reminds in its mildness of the taste and the consistency of scrambled eggs.
In Europe, it is a good idea to use Ackee from the can, which you get for example online at JamaicaShop (as well as the typical saltfish).
Ingredients (for 4 persons)
200 g saltfish - boneless/skinless (salted cod or other)
1 can ackee
1 small bell pepper (red, yellow or green)
1 medium onion
1 fresh scotch bonnet pepper or habanero
1 medium tomato
2 cloves of garlic
pinch of crushed thyme
fresh thyme (couple sprigs)
salt, black pepper
First, soak the saltfish in cold water for about 1 hour. Then pour the water off, add fresh water and simmer for about 20 minutes until tender. Let it drain, squeeze dry and de-bone (if necessary) and flake the saltfish with a fork.
While the saltfish is boiling, peel the onion and cut into half ring. Clean and cut the scalllions into small rings. Peel the garlic and chop finely. Clean the bell pepper and julienne. Clean the chili peppers, remove the seeds and chop finely (use gloves if necessary). Clean and dice the tomato.
Heat oil in a large pan on medium heat and sauté onions, garlic and chili. Then add sweet pepper, scallions, black pepper and thyme and let it fry for a few minutes until tender. Then add the saltfish and let simmer for 3 to 5 minutes. Now add the tomatoes and after 3 minutes the drained Ackee fruit. Use two forks and gently toss it with the other ingredients. The trick is not to break it apart, or you````````````````ll end up with a huge pot of mush. After adding the ackee, it takes a minute or two for it to heat through and develop those wonderful layers of flavour.
Serve immediately. This dish is often served with callaloo and fried platanos.
Image source: Fotolia - #104848748 © uckyo