Ackee and saltfish is one of those dishes I never order at the Caribbean restaurants I visit, as I find that I’m never happy with the quality and overall taste of what they typically deliver. In most cases they over-work the ackee and it then loses it’s shape and the texture is a big ‘mush’. Ackee is a very delicate ingredient, so you’ll find that I add it near the very end to heat through and take on the flavors of the cooked salted cod.
* Disclaimer! This is MY take on this classic Jamaican breakfast dish and since I live in Canada where I cannot get access to fresh Ackee off the tree, I MUST resort to using the stuff in the tin can.
1 can ackee (drained + rinsed)
1/3 lb salted cod
1/2 bell pepper
1/4 scotch bonnet
2-3 tablespoon olive oil
3 sprigs thyme
6-9 cherry tomato (or 1 medium reg tomato)
1 clove garlic
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
Note: If doing this dish gluten free, do go through the entire list of ingredients to ensure they meet with your specific gluten free dietary needs. Additionally, you can add more of the prepared salted cod to the dish if you want. There’s no need for salt as I find that the remaining salt in the salted fish is enough to properly season this dish.
- prepare the salted cod (soak, boil, rinse and flake) Watch this >> How To Prepare Salted Cod.
- heat the oil in a wide pan on a medium flame (you’re free to use coconut oil if you wish)
- add the flaked salted cod pieces and cook on low for about 3-5 minutes, to create that lovely base flavor we’re looking for
- now add the diced (or crushed) garlic along with the fresh thyme and black pepper. Cook for another minute or so
- toss in the diced bell pepper, finely chopped scotch bonnet (optional), scallions (diced) and cook for another 2-3 minutes
- now go in with the tomato and mix well
- drain and rinse the ackee (be gentle) in cool water (drain off the water)
- add the ackee to the pot and gently fold it in
- warm through for a couple minutes and enjoy!
Remember to wash your hands with soap and water after handling the scotch bonnet pepper and try to NOT use any of the seeds nor the white membrane surrounding the seeds as that’s where that “raw” heat lives. While the addition of tomato, scallions and bell pepper may not be ‘traditional” they add additional flavor and it’s a great way to stretch 1 can of akee.. which can be somewhat expensive in North America.
If you’re not familiar with ackee you may think it’s eggs. While it does look and have the texture of scrambled eggs, the taste is much different and it’s definitely a breakfast item I would encourage you to have on your weekend menu.