Travel the length and breadth of our island and you’ll find our national dish, ackee and saltfish, as the meal of choice for Jamaicans from all walks of life. Ackee is a fruit that’s neither sweet nor savoury and has the tendency to absorb the flavour of its partner food. When combined with one of the sea’s saltiest swimmers, Jamaica’s national dish provides an impeccable yin and yang of food flavours which can be enjoyed at just about any time of day.
1/2 lb Saltfish
2 dozen ackee (freshly picked or 2 cans drained)
2-3 plummy tomatoes (diced)
1 medium onions (diced or sliced)
1-2 stalks scallions
2-3 cloves garlic (chopped)
1 small green sweet pepper (diced)
All purpose seasoning powder (to taste)
1/2 tsp garlic powder
Scotch Bonnet Pepper (whole pepper pierced with a folk or 1/4 tsp chopped)
Cracked black pepper to taste
1/2 tbsp oil
1/4 cup water
Prepare saltfish for cooking by boiling in a pot of water twice and rinsing in cold water. Drain and set aside to cool; remove and skin and all bones if not boneless.
Prepare the ackee for cooking by removing the yellow fruit “pod” from the shell. Take out the black seeds and pink lining from flesh of the ackee. Rinse ackee and add to a medium pot of salted boiled water, cooking for 10-15 minutes or until tender (not soft). Drain and set aside.
Add 2 teaspoons oil to a medium pan or Dutch pot. On medium heat, saute the onion, garlic, tomatoes and sweet peppers for a few minutes. Add the saltfish for about 203 minutes and gently stir in the cooked ackee. Season to taste with black pepper, Scotch Bonner pepper, all purpose seasoning, scallion, thyme, 1/4 cup water if needed and allow to simmer on low heat for a few minutes.
Place cooked ackee and saltfish on a large oval platter or bowl.
Garnish with a whole Scotch Bonnet pepper and chopped scallion.