Jamaican Ackee and Saltfish

Mention Jamaica and it will likely conjure up a lot of images in people’s minds. Whether it be reggae music, the Jamaican patois dialect or for those who have tasted it, Jamaican cuisine.

Now, I’m not about to declare that Jamaican food is the next in thing and it’s true that if presentation was everything, then Jamaican food would be some way down the list. However, thankfully, that is not what Jamaican food is all about; it is very much home style cooking and is extremely tasty.

One of the more ‘heard about but never tried’ recipes is the delicious Jamaican ackee and saltfish which is one of my favourites and something I cook quite often. It’s true that it isn’t to everyone’s taste, and strangely enough I know a number of 2nd generation Jamaican’s who really don’t like it. It tends to be the texture which puts people off as ackee has the consistency of scrambled eggs, so if you don’t like scrambled eggs then you may not like Jamaican ackee and saltfish even though the taste is completely different.

It is very easy to prepare and you can eat it with plain rice or Jamaican rice and peas if you wish.

For the recipe you will need (serves 1 or two depending how greedy you are :

1 tin of ackee drained

Saltfish (this is usually bought dried and needs soaking beforehand)

2 tomatoes

1 scotch bonnet pepper

Thyme

Black pepper

Spring onions/scallions

Before cooking, soak and cook the saltfish as per instructions on the packet and then flake the fish.

In a little vegetable oil, fry the spring onion/scallions a little and then add the scotch bonnet pepper (you may want to discard the seeds unless you like it extra hot). After a few minutes add in the tomato and thyme and cook down a little. Then add the saltfish and after a minute or so add the ackee. Try not to ‘stir’ too much as this breaks up the ackee, but ‘turn’ the food to mix it together.

Once this has cooked for a few minutes, it is ready to serve. Yes, I know it looks a little disgusting but wait until you taste Jamaican ackee and saltfish, let me know if you love it.

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