I never realized that eating fish for breakfast was strange until I was discussing weekend breakfasts with friends in high school. I mentioned that we had cod fish and ackee with cauliloo and breadfruit and they looked at me as though I was growing another head. I asked them if they never had fish first thing in the morning and they said that no, they didn’t.ever. When I told my parents they merely shrugged and said “Americans”. I guess this is what happens to the children of immigrants you get used to eating food that is “different” if not down right “weird”. So when I met the husband who is one of those “Americans” that doesn’t eat fish for breakfast I had to introduce him to the “weird” way we eat breakfast. (But it’s perfectly good for lunch or dinner too!) Oh and those dumplings over there? Those are johnny cakes (you can make them with cornmeal -as we do, or without) and you cook them in a pan, on the stove (recipe to come).
Ackee and Saltfish
1/2 pound salted codfish
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small onion, diced
1 bunch scallions, diced
1 teaspoon garlic, chopped
1 sprig thyme
1/2 pound cooked ackee*
1 scotch bonnet pepper, chopped**
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Soak salted codfish in water overnight to release salt. In a medium saucepot, with enough water to cover the salted codfish, boil for 15 minutes. Strain, remove any bones, and let cool. Set aside.
In a large pan with olive oil, saute onion, scallions, and garlic until onions are translucent. Add salted codfish and saute for an additional 5 minutes. Add thyme and peppers. Then add ackee and saute for 3 to 5 minutes. Serve.
*Ackee must be ripe, it is poisonous before it opens to its ripened stage. Ackee can also be bought canned (I would suggest only eating it this way if you are not familiar with the fruit).
**For those of you not quite ready to experience a burst scotch bonnet (hello friends with children!) I substitute a 1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
Source: Jamaica’s National Dish