Ackee and Saltfish
- 1/2 pound dried salted fish, such as cod
- 6 slices thick-cut bacon
- 4 tablespoons butter or coconut oil
- 3 large onions, chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 green bell pepper, sliced into strips
- 1 red or yellow bell pepper, sliced into strips
- 2 sprigs thyme
- 6 green onions, finely chopped
- 1/4 hot red pepper, such as scotch bonnet, finely chopped
- 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
- 1 (28-ounce) can whole tomatoes, broken with your hands
- 2 (18-ounce) cans ackee*, drained
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
In a bowl of cold water, soak fish at least 8 hours or overnight, changing water at least two times. Drain and transfer the fish to a saucepan. Discard soaking water. Cover the fish with fresh cold water by 1-inch and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes. Drain again and set the fish aside to cool. Discard water. When cool enough to handle, remove, and discard any bones and/or skin, and flake the fish into small pieces. Set aside.
In a large skillet, cook the bacon over medium heat until very crispy and all of the fat is rendered. Transfer the bacon to paper towels to drain and set aside. Pour off most of the fat, then add the butter to the skillet. Add the onions, cayenne, garlic, bell peppers, thyme, green onions, red pepper, and allspice and cook until the vegetables are tender but not browned, about 4 to 6 minutes. Add the tomatoes, fish, and drained ackee and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 30 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, to taste, and serve alongside a plate of white rice or rice and beans cooked in coconut milk. Crumble the reserved bacon strips over the top of the ackee and serve.
* PLEASE NOTE: Eating unripe fresh ackee is unsafe. Only ripened canned ackee is available in the United States. It is regulated and certified by the U.S. government to be ripened fruit and safe for consumption.
Recipe courtesy of Emeril Lagasse, 2001