Ackee & Saltfish just might be my favorite food. I’m not saying that just because it happens to be the national food of my birthland, Jamaica. I love Ackee and saltfish with rice, dumpling, food, roast breadfruit, hardough bread, whatever it’s served with I’m eating.
Ackee which hails from West Africa has a creamy texture and bland flavor. I like to think of it as a blank slate. Many people compare it to scrambled egg but I am sure that has more to do with appearance than flavor. To make Ackee & Saltfish, cook the yellow fruit in water and then combine it with salt fish that has been cooked and flaked. The dish is then seasoned with, fresh herbs and black pepper or hot pepper or both to make a tasty entree that’s perfect any time of day. An ackee & saltfish recipe appears at the bottom of this post.
To remove excess salt from the fish, cover with water and boil for about 10 minutes over med-high heat. Drain water and repeat process. After the 2nd boil, let the fish sit in cold water for about 5 minutes before handling. If using bone-in saltfish. Remove skin and large bones before flaking fish. Use a fork to flake the fish.
Heat oil in a frying pan for 2 minutes over medium heat. Add the onions, thyme, pepper and tomato. Stir for a few minutes. Add the fish. Simmer for 5 about minutes. Add ackee. Sprinkle with black pepper. Heat for another 2 to 3 minutes. Serve with roasted breadfruit, dumplings (fried or boiled) boiled green bananas or any other side you wish.
If you are lucky enough to get fresh ackee.
To cook ackee add to water with saltfish during last 7 minutes of cooking. The ackee color will change from light to dark yellow. When cooked ackee will pierce easily with a fork and may begin to fall apart in the water. Use a slotted spoon to remove the ackee from the water.