An Ackee and Saltfish recipe is probably unnecessary to those who live in Jamaica. It's one of those authentic Jamaican recipes that you grow up with and absorb into your life. You are able make it without having consciously learned how.
Ackee is our national fruit, and although never officially declared as such, Ackee and Saltfish is our national dish by consensus.
We are one of the few countries in the world where ackee is widely eaten, possibly because long ago we were one of the few countries to discover how to properly prepare it.
Ackee is poisonous unless the pods open naturally on the tree. Don't worry, I've never heard of anyone actually getting sick from it - we value it too much to waste it by forcing it open!
I hope this simple Ackee and Saltfish recipe will have you cooking Jamaican in no time.
2 dozen ackees, or 2 20oz cans ackee
1 tsp salt
1/2 lb saltfish (salted cod)
1/4 cup coconut or vegetable oil
2 medium tomatoes, chopped
1 sweet pepper (bell pepper) chopped
1 large onion, chopped or in rings
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 hot pepper, diced (optional)
1/4 tsp ground pimento (allspice) or a few whole pimento grains
Remove ackees from pods. Clean, wash and drain. Place ackees in boiling water (enough water to cover ackees) with salt, and boil for about 15 minutes or until tender. Drain and set aside. If using canned ackees, there is no need to boil them. Simply drain off the liquid.
Wash saltfish thoroughly. Place in a pot with enough cold water to cover saltfish. Boil uncovered for 15 minutes. Throw off the water. When cool enough, separate the saltfish into small pieces, discarding skin and bones. If fish tastes too salty, wash it again.
Heat the oil over medium heat and add tomatoes, sweet pepper, onion, hot pepper, garlic and pimento. Add saltfish and ackee, and stir lightly. Heat thoroughly, especially if using canned or frozen ackees. Add black pepper to taste.
Variation: Use crispy bite sized pieces of bacon or corned pork as a substitute for, or in addition to saltfish.
You can be flexible with this ackee and saltfish recipe. Use whatever vegetables and seasonings you have on hand, that you think might go well with the two main ingredients.
Serve with boiled green bananas, dumplings (fried or boiled), roast breadfruit, bammy, bread, or even white rice. Endless possibilities!
Interested in other Jamaican recipes? Try one of these:
Jamaican Rice and Peas Recipe
Jamaican Curry Chicken Recipe
Johnny Cake and Festival
Jamaican Rum Punch Recipe
Jamaican Rum Cake (Fruit Cake) Recipe
Jamaican Bread Pudding, Jamaican Banana Bread Recipes
Jamaican Easter Bun Recipe
Traditional Jamaican Desserts - Blue Drawers and Toto
Sweet Potato Pone