Jamaican Ackee and Saltfish – A quintessential Jamaican Breakfast made with ackee, salt fish, onions, tomatoes, red bell pepper, then infused with garlic, thyme, and hearty spices creating a tastebud sensation.
Guys, meet ackee. A fruit, yes indeed. Somewhat related to the lychee family, but for the most part, it’s often referred to as a vegetable; creamy, buttery, and really delicate in texture. Just one look at it and you would think it is soft scrambled eggs, right?
Yes, it literally melts in your mouth. Legendary in Jamaica and mostly used together with salt fish to make a delectable breakfast dish.
In fact, it is said to be Jamaica’s National Dish. Although not indigenous to Jamaica, Ackee is grown throughout Jamaica. It originated from West Africa (not celebrated in Africa like it is in Jamaica), imported to the Caribbean in the 18th Century, as a part of a staple on the plantations. I have vague memories of fresh ackee but just can’t put it together. I’m just not going to sweat it. All I know is that it blows your mind. Delicious! Definitely an exotic breakfast – Fit for a king or queen.
Guess what? You don’t have to be a royal to enjoy this. You can have it right here. Any takers?
You just have to give it a try. I promise you are going to DIG it!!!
No worries! You can get it at any Caribbean market and some international markets do carry it, depending on your neighborhood, or it’s just a click away as sold on Amazon.
Be careful when cooking Ackee since it’s delicate. It is advisable to not overcook it cause it melts easily. Add towards the end when you only have about 3-5 minutes left and avoid continuous stirring.
Jamaican Ackee and Saltfish
- 4-6 bacon slices chopped
- ½ pound boneless salted codfish
- ¼ cup vegetable oil or more
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 1 sprig fresh thyme
- 1 onions chopped
- 2 tomatoes diced
- 2 scallions chopped
- 1 small bell pepper sliced
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon paprika optional
- 1 scotch bonnet pepper pierced sub cayenne pepper about ½ teaspoons
- 18-20 ounce can ackee, drained
- Soak salt cod fish in water overnight, if needed boil to get rid of excess salt. Set aside.
- In a large skillet over medium heat, sauté bacon until brown and crisp this may take about 3-5 minutes
- Then remove bacon form skillet and transfer to a plate.
- There will be some bacon drippings left in the pan, remove and leave about 1-2 Tablespoons bacon.
- Add about 2 Tablespoons of vegetable oil to the pan. Followed by onions, garlic, thyme, and green onions.
- Sauté for about a minute, stirring occasionally to prevent any burns.
- Followed by tomatoes continue cooking for about 3 minutes then add, hot pepper, white pepper, mix until ingredients have been thoroughly combined. Cook for about 5 minutes or more. Add water as needed
- Finally throw in salt fish, cook for a few minutes then add ackee and cook for another 3 minutes or more - adjust the seasoning to taste. Remove from the heat and let it cool. You may prepare this a day in advance.
Tips & Notes:
Soak salt cod fish in water over-night, if needed boil to get rid of excess salt. Shred in large pieces
Sauté bacon until brown and crisp this may take about 3-5 minutes
Combination of sauté onions, garlic, thyme, tomatoes, green onions, red bell pepper and pepper
Finally throw in salt fish, cook for a few minutes then add ackee and cook for another 3 minutes or more -adjust the seasoning, to taste