I have been kindly asked by Ruth of "Once Upon A Feast" from Toronto (Canada) to participate the WEEKEND COOKBOOK CHALLENGE dedicated to foreign foods. She is co-hosting the event with fellow foodie blogger Sarah of "I Like To Cook" from Calgary (Canada)...
Ruth asked us to write about a dish that comes from a cookbook we own, but which is issued from a cuisine unknown to us, something we consider to be "exotic" or "foreign". This post starring this "Caribbean salt Cod" recipe is my contribution to this interesting round-up...
I could have cooked an Asian, Middle Eastern, Tex Mex dish or any other speciality from a place considered to be "different", but my choice went to another cuisine that is more unknown to me. I'm a lot more acustomed to the other cuisines upon which I dwell more often. When it comes to the Caribbean cuisine and it's specialities, I get transported into a "terra incognita" filled up with new smells, flavors and sensations!
Before I bought the fabulous "Culinaria The Caribbean: A Culinary Discovery" cookbook by Könemann, this corner of the world witheld many secrets. I was already not very well informed about this part of the world as well as it's history, traditions, customs and foods. Of course, I did know the odd information that we all learn at school (political, geographic, etc...) or the normal stuff everybody knows, but I had no in depth knowledge of the countries that form the Caribbean...
This immense and thourough book enlightened me and broadened my horizon; while it offered the perspective of many delightful feasts that lay ahead, it also taught me a lot!!! I learnt so much about the Rastafaris from Jamaica, the Arawak Indians that populated the region long before the colonialist arrived and heartlessly decimated them, Bermuda's "Pot-Hole Farming", voodoo in Haïti, Sainte-Lucie's hundreds of mango varieties introduced by the Portuguese, rum-making in Barbados, Granade's most noisy and colourful market of the Caribbean, Trinidad's Chinese and Indian communities, Curaçao's traditional Iguana soup as well as many other intriguing non-food or food related subjects...
By opening the pages of this book, I got acquainted to a culture about which I had not the slightest idea and most importantly to a culinary tradition which had stayed in the shadows of my pitiful knowledge of the Caribbean. Through this magnificent cookbook chock-a-block full of recipes, informations and valuable explanations, I learnt and still learn many things which I would never have imagined before I opened this bible!
I can only recommend you to get yours hands on this little jewel!!!
Coming back to the recipe, salt cod being something I never prepared, I thought that this r"Caribbean Salt Cod" dish would be ideal in order to make me discover this fish. It is a colourful and fragrant dish, spicy and fresh to please, that is perfect if you want to eat something healthy, yet very tasty!
I really loved this "Caribbean Salt Cod" recipe which was adapted from the "Culinaria The Caribbean: A Culinary Discovery" and reinterprtated by myself.
Serves 2 to 3 people
500g Salt cod
2 Onions, sliced
5 Cloves garlic, crushed
1/2 Red chilli, seeded and chopped
1 Yellow bell pepper, sliced
1 Green bell pepper, sliced
1 Red bell pepper, sliced
1 Tsp Ground allspice
1 Tsp Dry thyme
1 Can (400g) peeled tomatoes, coarsly crushed
2 Thin slices of bacon
500g Pineapple, cubed
8 Sprigs chives
4 Tbs Tomato puree
1 1/2 Cups water
2 Tbs Brown rum
Salt, to taste
Pepper, to taste
2 Hard boiled eggs, smashed (optional)
1. Place the cod in water, overnight.
2. Drain and cook the fish in unsalted water for about 15 minutes.
3. Drain again. Take off the skin, cartilage and bones.
4. In a frying pan, melt the butter and add the bacon.
5. Add the onions, garlic, chilli, thyme, chives, bell peppers and allspice.
6. Cook until all the ingredients are tender.
7. Incorporate the tomatoes, tomato puree, water, rum, fish and the pineapple/ackee.
8. Let cook for about 30-45 minutes, stirring from time to time.
9. Salt and pepper to taste.
10. Garnish the dish with the eggs.
In the original recipe, 125g of Caribbean margarine was used, but I replaced it by butter and decided to use only half of the quantity indicated....
I used 120g Speck instead of the 2 sliced bacon, as indicated.
If you have fresh thyme, then take one sprig for this recipe.
Normally, this recipe is made with ackee fruits, but as it costs a little fortune, I decided to replace them by cubed pineapple slices.
Serve with plain white rice or "Caribbean Red Beans And Rice".
(St-Lucia -Pic by Tan Yilmaz www.trekearth.com)
(Salt Cod -Pic www.pbs.org)
(Dominican Republic -Pic by Allison Herb www.trekearth.com)