Archive | Fish

Simple Oven Jerk Fish Recipe.

Simple Oven Jerk Fish Recipe.

With Easter around the corner I’ve had several requests for fish recipes, so I thought I’d share a simple technique for making Jamaican style jerk snapper (fish), but with store bought jerk marinade and in your oven. I agree that making your own jerk marinade is much better and using a grill with coals and pimento wood is what true Jamaican jerk is all about. However this is all about convenience and exciting flavors.

 

You’ll Need…

2-4 lbs Red Snapper
1/2 lime or lemon (for washing the fish)
1 heaping tablespoon of jerk marinade
1 tablespoon orange juice
pinch salt and black pepper
1 tablespoon veg oil

* Use your favorite store purchased jerk marinade.

Scale, trim (gut) and wash the fish with the juice of 1/2 lime or lemon.. rinse with cool water and pat dry. Cut two slits on the back (both sides) of each fish to allow for the jerk marinade to penetrate and do all-kinda good things. Stuff the cavity of each fish with a bit of thyme and scallions (bruise or crush with your knife to release the flavors) and sprinkle a bit of salt and black pepper.

In a small bowl mix the jerk marinade (use your fav) and orange juice, then brush it onto both sides of each fish. Try to get some in the cuts we made. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to marinate in the fridge for about 1/2 hour (max 1 hr as the marinade will start to cook the fish after that).

Now preheat your oven to 400 F and line a baking tray with parchment paper. Drizzle on the veg oil so the fish won’t stick as it does it’s thing in the oven. Set the baking tray on the middle rack in your oven and let it go for about 15 minutes. Then flip over and cook for another 8-10 minutes. This depends on how thick your fish are and how well done you like your fish.

There you go, a simple but exciting jerk fish done in your oven.. no need for an outdoor grill. Remember if you’re serving this to kids be mindful of the bones of the fish. If you decide to use fish fillets, try to get some with the skin still on and reduce the cooking time (again, depending on the thickness of the fillets) by about 1/2.

Before you go, don’t forget to check out the latest cooking videos, connect with me on twitter and join our community on facebook. Oh yea! Leave me a comment below – it’s appreciated!

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Coconut Curry Mussels Done The Caribbean Way.

Coconut Curry Mussels Done The Caribbean Way.

Very much like the ‘Curry Lobster” recipe I shared a while back, Mussels is not something you’ll find normally being prepared in the Caribbean, unless it’s at one of the many high end restaurants we have catering to a mainly tourist clientele. This curry mussels recipe is basically my take on a shellfish which is readily available in Canada.. where we presently call home. I’m sure you’ve heard of PEI mussels!

 

You’ll Need

2 lbs mussels
1 cup coconut milk
2 tablespoon curry powder
3 cloves garlic (minced)
1 Shallot (minced)
1/2 teaspoon salt
fresh ground black pepper
1 large tomato diced
3 tablespoon chopped cilantro
1 scallion
1 cup beer – optional
1/4 scotch bonnet pepper
2 tablespoon olive oil

Note: I like using a good Caribbean lager beer… like Carib! But you can use any beer you enjoy. I used my fav madras curry blend out of the Caribbean, but you can certainly use whichever curry you enjoy.

Mussel Tip! Their shells should be tightly closed when you buy them, or they should close when you tap them. They will open their shells to try and cool themselves off as they cook, so no open shells at the end of cooking means they were dead to start, and probably not safe to eat.

See the tip above for selecting your mussels. Wash under cool water, remove any debris or strings attached to the mussels and get ready to cook. Dice the tomato, scallion, garlic and shallot. Remember to wear gloves when handling the scotch bonnet peppers, wash your hands immediately after with soap and water and don’t include any of the seeds of the pepper.

In a wide saucepan heat the oil on a medium flame, then add the shallot and garlic. As we’ve done in other curry recipes, turn the heat down to low to help gently cook the garlic and shallot for that exciting base of flavor.

After about 3-4 minutes, go in with the curry powder (low heat still) and cook for another 3 minutes. This will toast the curry to really bring out the flavors of the spices which make up the curry blend. Then add the diced scallion, turn up the heat to high and go in with the mussels.

Top with the finely diced scotch bonnet pepper, coconut milk, salt, tomato, black pepper and beer (stir well). Bring to a quick boil and cook for about 4-5 minutes (until the mussels open).

I like to finish this off with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice (not mentioned in the ingredient list as it’s a personal choice) and top with the chopped cilantro. The sauce will be thin compared to other curry dishes we’ve prepared before, so don’t think it’s soupy and a mistake. Get some good bread and tuck in for real flavor.

The sauce will be thin compared to other curry dishes we’ve prepared before, so don’t think it’s soupy and a mistake. Get some good bread and tuck in for real flavor.

Before you go, don’t forget to check out the latest cooking videos, connect with me on twitter and join our community on facebook. Oh yea! Leave me a comment below – it’s appreciated.

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Caribbean Style Tuna Sandwich Spread.

Caribbean Style Tuna Sandwich Spread.

During my early years in Canada, mine was the typical immigrant story. Little money, hard work with long hours (school in my case) and quick meals. This meant eating a lot of what we would we would call “bachie’ (short for bachelor) food.. mostly canned fish and meats which were fast to put together and paired with crackers and/or bread. I ate canned tuna, salmon and corned beef in various forms and to be quite honest, got very creative at it. This is one such recipe. Where typical tuna salad or spread is given a serious Caribbean makeover!

 

You’ll Need…

2 cans tuna
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 heaping tablespoon mayo
1/4 cup diced celery
1/4 cup diced red onion
1/4 cup diced cucumber
1 scallion diced
1/2 avocado diced
1/4 lemon (juice)
1 seasoning pepper diced (optional)
1/2 teaspoon peppersauce (hot sauce)

* There’s actually no cooking involved, but you will need a few minutes to dice everything to assemble.


I purchased tuna packed  in water, so after opening the cans, I tried my best to squeeze out all the liquid as I could. Then flaked it into small pieces (don’t overwork or it will become mush) in a large bowl.

Finely dice the onion, scallion, celery, cucumber (peel and deseed) and seasoning pepper (aka pimento pepper), then add it to the bowl with the flaked tuna. Now go in with the black pepper, pepper sauce (your fav hot sauce or finely diced scotch bonnet pepper) and mayo. Give it a good mix to incorporate all the ingredients.

After mixing well, top with the cubed avocado and before mixing, squeeze in the lemon juice on top of the avocado so along with adding a nice citrus punch, it will prevent the avocado from going discolored.

You’ll notice that I didn’t add any salt as I’m trying to cut back on my salt intake and I find that canned tuna is packed with a high amount of sodium. Please taste and adjust accordingly. Now gently fold in the avocado so as not to overly crush the delicate pieces… squeeze in some more lemon juice if you like!

Now get your favorite bread ready for a what I promise is a unique Caribbean style tuna sandwich. Place on crackers and pass around at your next party… watch you guests go into a feeding frenzy! Go ahead..take all the credit!

Store in the fridge if you make it in advance… and it will remain fine for a couple days in a sealed contained as long as it’s in the fridge. You can also use this to top some Boston lettuce and other greens for what I believe is a stunning tuna salad.

Before you go, don’t forget to check out the latest cooking videos, connect with me on twitter and join our community on facebook. Oh yea! Leave me a comment below – it’s appreciated.

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Baby Pak Choi With Salted Cod The Caribbean Way.

Baby Pak Choi With Salted Cod The Caribbean Way.

One of my favorite dishes growing up on the islands was when mom would make pak choi with leftover stewed pork. The slight crunch from the pak choi (not over-cooked) combined with the flavors brought to the game by the tender pieces of stewed pork with hints of ginger.. I may have to get that one done very soon as I now have a craving. Back to the pak choi with salted fish recipe… This version is just as tasty, as I find that the bits of salted cod brings it’s own unique flavor to the finished dish.

You’ll notice that I added this recipe to the vegetarian section as the salted fish can easily be omitted with great results. I would just double up on the onion and garlic for added flavor.

You’ll Need…

2 lb baby pak choi
1 cup prepared salted cod
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 scotch bonnet pepper
1 large onion (diced)
4 cloves garlic (diced)
2 tablespoon olive oil

Optional – Cashews and/or sliced almonds

Double wash the pak choi as there’s usually sand/dirt between the stems and drain, then chop into 1/4 inch pieces (cut across into ribbons).  You’ll need to boil the salted fish (cod) then rinse and shred. The boiling will remove most of the salt it was cured in and help hydrate it a bit. If you don’t boil the salted fish in water before using it will be too salty for use. Watch this video if you’re unfamiliar with working with salted fish (click link) : How To Prepare Salted Fish. Try to purchase boned salted fish to avoid having to pick out the tiny bones.. but still keep an eye out for any bones which may still be present in boned saltfish.

Now heat the oil on a medium flame in a wide pan and add the diced garlic and onion. Reduce the heat to low and slowly cook for 3-5 minutes. Then toss in the bits of salted cod (any dry salted fish) as well as the black pepper and with the heat still on low cook for another 2-3 minutes The goal here is to get a ton of flavor created before adding the chopped pak choi.

Raise the heat to medium and start adding the chopped pak choi to the pot. It will wilt as it cooks so don’t get alarmed when you get the feeling it won’t all fit in your pan. Top with the scotch bonnet pepper and stir well. Do not cover the pot or you’ll risk having too much moisture/liquid form.

Cook with the pan uncovered for 5-7 minutes or until you get the desired texture you like with your pak choi. I like it with a slight crunch. You’ll notice that I didn’t add any salt to the dish as the remaining salt from the salted cod will be enough to season this properly.. but do taste and adjust accordingly.

If you want to add some cashews or sliced almonds, you can do so the final 2 minutes of cooking. This will add a lot of texture to the dish (and protein). Remember when working with scotch bonnet (or any hot pepper) to wear gloves if your skin is sensitive and do wash your hands with soap and water immediately after. Also note that the scotch bonnet is optional and do not include the pepper’s seeds if you’re concerned about the raw heat. The seeds and white membrane surrounding the seeds is where the majority of heat will be.

This is a wonderful dish to have with steamed or boiled rice, works well with roti and other flat breads and if all fails.. make a sandwich with it. Superb!  Before you go, don’t forget to check out the latest cooking videos, connect with me on twitter and join our community on facebook. Oh yea! Leave me a comment below – it’s appreciated.

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The Best Brussels Sprouts Recipe Ever – A Caribbean Twist!

The Best Brussels Sprouts Recipe Ever – A Caribbean Twist!

Brussels sprouts is one ingredient you won’t necessarily get in the Caribbean, unless it’s in a package in the frozen section of the grocery store. However, we’ve perfected the art of cooking cabbage so I thought I’d use one of the methods we employ to prepare cabbage and adapt it for brussels sprouts. The goal was to come up with a recipe which will encourage my family (and yours) to at least give brussels sprouts a try. Gone are the days of bland soggy steamed sprouts!

 

You’ll Need….

1 lb brussels sprouts
3/4 cup prepared salted fish (cod – shredded)
1 onion
3 cloves garlic
1 teaspoon lemon juice
2 table spoon olive oil
1 pimento pepper (aka seasoning pepper)
2 birds eye pepper (or 1/4 scotch bonnet)
1/2 teaspoon curry powder

Note: I used my fav curry powder, a madras blend out of the Caribbean. If using scotch bonnet peppers, don not use any of the seeds if you’re concerned about the raw heat.

Wash the sprouts with cool water, pat dry, trim off  any stems and cut each one in half. Also dice the garlic, seasoning pepper and onion.

Heat the oil on a medium flame and add the onion and garlic. Reduce the heat to low and cook for 3 minutes.

Now add the salted cod bits (remember to prepare the salted cod by boiling in water to remove excess salt and to rehydrate – watch this video: How To Prepare Salted Fish) and cook for another 3 minutes.

You’ll now have a wonderful flavor base with the salted cod, garlic and onion. Toss in the seasoning pepper and bird’s eye pepper and cook or 1 minute to release it’s wonderful oil… then add all the other ingredients (including the brussels sprouts) and give it a good stir. With your heat still on low, cook for 12-15 minutes. You will get some golden edges on the brussels sprouts.. that’s what we want. Do NOT cover the pot or you’ll welcome moisture and it will go soggy.

You’ll notice that I didn’t add any salt to the dish as the salted cod will still have enough salt (even after we boil it), but do taste and adjust as your tolerance for salt will be different than mine. Squeeze in the lemon juice at the end to brighten up the entire dish and serve warm.

Dare I say that this will be the BEST brussels sprouts you and your family have ever tasted? I recall being invited to a friend’s home when I first move to Canada for dinner and the wet socks scent coming out of the serving dish with the brussels sprouts had me rethinking why I accepted his invitation. Moms could COOK (I later found out), but that wet socks scent stayed with me for years!

Before you go, don’t forget to check out the latest cooking videos, connect with me on twitter and join our community on facebook. Oh yea! Leave me a comment below – it’s appreciated.

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How To Cook Curry Lobster The Caribbean Way.

How To Cook Curry Lobster The Caribbean Way.

If I were to count using my fingers the amount of times this dish was cooked in our home growing up, I’d have room left to count 10 other dishes. Curry lobster (or lobster curry as our Guyanese cousins say) never made it to our dinner table as far as I could remember. However curry crabs (simmered in freshly made coconut milk)  served with flour dumplings was a regular thing. Let’s mimic that curry crab recipe, with the use of these succulent lobster pieces for what could only be described as the ultimate curry lobster.

Quick lobster note… lobsters found in the tropical waters of the Caribbean are different than the ones most North Americans are familiar with (like Maine lobsters). The Caribbean lobster tend to be a bit more boney (spiny), there’s a subtle difference in taste and they have no claws. I remember snorkeling in the pristine waters of Tobago (Buccoo Reef) a few years back and catching my first ever spiny lobster. With no means of sparking up a fire and cooking it.. let’s just say that was the last time a lobster got away from me!

 

You’ll Need…

2 lobsters (about 3lbs)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tomato
1 tablespoon Caribbean green seasoning
1/4 teaspoon roasted geera (cumin)
1/4 teaspoon amchar massala (optional)
4 cloves garlic
1 small onion
2 sprigs thyme
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 scotch bonnet pepper
1 cup water

2 tablespoon veg oil
3 tablespoon curry powder
1/4 cup water to cook the curry
1/4 onion for cooking curry

Wash, clean and cut the lobster into pieces. I used a Maine lobster, so I had claws (crack then a few places for the marinade and curry to do it’s thing from the inside -out)…  season with the salt, tomato, garlic , onion, garlic, green seasoning, amchar massala, black pepper, roasted geera, thyme and scotch bonnet pepper.  Please allow this to marinate for at least 2 hrs in the fridge. Remember to take it out of the fridge about 15 minutes before you’re ready to start the curry, so it comes back to room temp before cooking.

Heat the oil in a deep pot on medium heat and add the diced 1/4 onion. Lower the heat to low and let it cook for 2 minutes. Meanwhile in a small bowl, mix the curry powder and 1/4 cup of water to form a sort of thick paste. Pour in the curry mix and cook on low for about 3-5 minutes, until it starts to cook down, go grainy and start to clump. (see images below)

The goal here is to cook off the raw curry taste and to really intensify the overall curry flavors. Turn up your heat if you find that it’s not cooking down. You should have a thick paste, with signs of the vegetable oil you started off with.  If you’ve not already done so, turn the heat up to medium high and start adding the marinated lobster pieces to the pot, stirring as you do to pick up all that great curry flavors from the bottom of the pot. Try to coat all the pieces of the lobster with the curry base we created. Place the lid on the pot and bring to a boil. It will release it’s own juices. Let that simmer for a couple minutes, then remove the lid and turn up the heat.

The goal now is to intensify the combined flavors of the curry, seasonings and lobster. Burn off any liquid. In the same bowl you marinated the lobster, pour in the 1 cup of water and stir to pick up all remaining marinade. Pour in the water (mixed with any remaining marinade) into the pot and bring to a boil.

The lobster will go a brilliant red/orange color as it cooks and stand out brilliantly against the rich greenish color of the curry sauce. With the pot uncovered, let that cook for another 4-6 minutes or until the lobster is cooked to your liking (try to not overcook). Personalize this curry lobster by tasting for salt and adjusting accordingly and the the gravy or sauce should be as thick as you like.

Since I had my mom’s help in cooking this tasty curry lobster, she usually finishes off her curry dishes with a topping of finely chopped shado beni (aka culantro, chadon beni or bandanya), if you can’t source shado beni, cilantro works great. Add when you turn off the stove.

You can get creative by using coconut milk instead of the 1 cup of water, but I personally find that it mellows the overall taste too much and takes away from the lovey flavors of the lobster itself.

Before you go, don’t forget to check out the latest cooking videos, connect with me on twitter and join our community on facebook. oh yea! leave me a comment below – it’s appreciated.

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Bodi Stewed In Coconut Milk And Salted Cod.

Bodi Stewed In Coconut Milk And Salted Cod.

As a young fella on the islands I fondly remember helping our mom pick (harvest) the mature bodi (bora, long-podded cowpea, asparagus bean, pea bean, snake bean, or Chinese long bean) which grew on the bamboo branches our dad would place next to the plants for the vine to spread. Something about the long beans cascading down like lengthened streams of water falling from the heavens attracted my attention. Especially when we had a good crop and the beans were the length of long shoe laces. However you had to be careful when picking the bodi when there were still flowers on the vine, as they attracted bees who did their thing pollinating so we could have a continuous crop.

If you can’t source bodi (bora in Guyana) french beans, string beans or any of your favorite green beans will work for this recipe. The one thing you will have to note though is the cooking time for the beans you select. Bodi is a bit tough so it takes about 5-10 minutes longer to cook than other beans.

You’ll Need…

1 bundle bodi (about 1lb)
3 cloves garlic (diced)
2 tablespoon olive oil (veg oil works great as well)
1/4 cup water
1/2 cup coconut milk
1 medium onion (sliced)
1/4 scotch bonnet pepper (any spicy pepper)
dash black pepper
1 cup shredded salted cod
8 cherry tomatoes

* Prep salted fish – soak – boil – drain and shred – please use boned salted fish for less work. Click here >> How To Prepare Salted Fish <<<  to learn how to prepare saltfish for use.

Heat the oil on a medium heat, then add the salted fish and cook on low for about 3 minutes to create a lovely base of flavour. Then add the garlic and onion and cook for another 3 minutes on low heat. Stir well.

While this cook wash the bodi, then trim off about 1/4 inch off both ends and discard. Now cut them into 1 – 1.5 inch pieces.

Turn the heat up to medium/high, add the trimmed bodi as well as the other ingredients (except the tomatoes) and bring to a simmer.

Turn the heat down to a simmer, cover the pot and let it cook for about 20 minutes. After-which remove the lid, taste for salt (adjust accordingly to your taste) and turn the heat up to burn off all excess liquid.Should not have any liquid when done.

You will notice that the bodi will not have the brilliant green color you started off with (normal) and you can personalize this by cooking to the consistency you like as I know many people who like their beans with a little crunch to them. Add the tomato (toss), turn the heat off and cover the pot. The residual heat will gently cook the tomato.

If you want to make this fully vegetarian you can leave out the salted fish and start by gently cooking the onion and garlic and proceed from there (for extra flavor you can add a vegetable stock cube). And remember if you can’t source bodi, you can use your favorite green bean with great results. To stretch this dish for more people you can add some cubed potato, but do remember to adjust the amount of salt you add.

Before you go, don’t forget to check out the latest cooking videos, connect with me on twitter and join our community on facebook. oh yea! leave me a comment below – it’s appreciated.

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A Classic Caribbean Summer Salad From My Garden.

A Classic Caribbean Summer Salad From My Garden.

After posting the recipe video for this on the Cooking Channel, I got an email from a viewer saying “that’s nothing but saltfish buljol”. Let’s look at this comment for a brief minute before we get to the actual recipe. NO Absolutely NOT!  Yes, there are ingredients in this recipe which may mimic our beloved saltifsh buljol, but when I think buljol I want the key ingredient or ‘star’ of the show to be salted fish. In a good saltfish buljol the salad itself is built around the salted fish, as you want that to shine through. In my recipe below you’ll notice that the salted fish is simply used for additional texture and flavor.

 

You’ll Need…

3 medium sized cucumbers
1 tablespoon chopped parsley
1/2 lemon
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 birds eye peppers
1/4 cup sliced red onions
2 cups cherry tomatoes (or any tomato you have)
1/2 cup prepared salted cod
pinch fresh ground black pepper

To learn how to prepare salted fish (like salted cod) for use, watch this video: How To Prepare Saltfish.

This is so easy you’ll wonder why you’ve never made this before. Basically all you have to do is wash, peel and chop the vegetables. Then assemble in a bowl, top with the olive oil and lemon juice and toss. You’ll notice that I didn’t use any salt as the residual salt from teh saltfish will be enough to balance things.

Tips.

1. If you’re concerned about the raw heat of the peppers, do not use as much as I did and try not to use any seeds. This is where most of that heat resides.

2. To make this vegetarian leave out the salted fish, but remember to add some sea salt (according to your taste).

3. Can be made a couple hours in advance if you’re having guests over and need time to focus on other dishes.

Fresh ingredients from my garden… can’t tell you how much I loved this salad, especially since it was the reward for my work earlier in the spring. This salad has that true Caribbean vibe and is enough for about 6 people as a starter.

Before you go, don’t forget to check out the latest cooking videos, connect with me on twitter and join our community on facebook. oh yea! leave me a comment below – it’s appreciated.

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Caribbean Style Popcorn Shrimp Recipe.

Caribbean Style Popcorn Shrimp Recipe.

After just one bite of Popeye’s popcorn shrimp many years ago I knew I had to find my own version of making this delicious snack. I needed something where I would control the ingredients used and as a son of the Caribbean soil, I knew it had to reflect our love for seafood and passion for rich flavors. But don’t take my word for it, give the recipe a test drive!

 

You’ll Need…

3 cups vegetable oil for frying
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 egg
1/2 cup milk
1 cup dry bread crumbs (see note below)
1 tablespoon Caribbean green seasoning
1/4 scotch bonnet pepper (chopped finely)
1 clove garlic (crushed)
pinch teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 lb medium shrimp, peeled and deveined

Note: I like using crushed salted crackers instead of the bread crumbs.

Peel, devein and wash the shrimp (Video demo how to peel and devein shrimp). Then season with the Caribbean Green Seasoning, salt, crushed garlic, black pepper and finely chopped scotch bonnet pepper. Allow this to marinate for 10 minutes.

As the shrimp marinates, prepare the breading station. In a bowl place the bread crumbs (I like using crushed salted crackers as I find the texture and airiness is much better) , in another bowl you’ll have the flour and the final bowl you’ll whisk together the milk and egg.

Since these popcorn shrimp cooks very fast I suggest you bread all of them before you start frying. Each shrimp – dust in the flour, then the egg mixture, then roll in the bread crumbs (you may need to press them down into the bread crumbs a bit) and set aside.

Basically all you have to do now is deep or shallow fry these until they are golden brown. With my flame on medium/high (oil hot) I gently placed each shrimp (do in 2 batches to not over-crowd the pan) and cooked them for about 2-3 minutes on each side. Fish them out and place on paper towels to try and absorb some of the excess oil.

Serve warm with some Caribbean pepper sauce or any sort of dip you like using. (top with some chopped parsley and lemon wedges to make the dish look even more appetizing)

There’s enough popcorn shrimp here for 5 people as a snack and the recipe can easily be doubled if needs be. One bite and you’ll never go back to Popeye’s or anywhere else that serves popcorn shrimp.

Before you go, don’t forget to check out the latest cooking videos, connect with me on twitter and join our community on facebook. oh yea! leave me a comment below – it’s appreciated.

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Grilled Sea Bass Stuffed With Jamaican Callaloo.

Grilled Sea Bass Stuffed With Jamaican Callaloo.

You knew I’d be ending this year’s month of grilling with a truly wicked recipe.. one that’s very dear to me. This grilled stuffed fish is one of those dishes we try to make at least once a year (summer) when my best friends and I meet. One from Dominica, another from Jamaica and myself the Trinbagonian, connect in a sort of mystical way as we dive into our individual red snapper stuffed with Jamaican callaloo (amaranth, spinach or chorai bhagi) along with some cold beverages. The only talking is after we’re good and stuffed and each of us eying the last piece of boiled sweet potato or fried plantain.

You’ll Need…

2 Sea bass * (medium sized)
3 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 onion
1 tablespoon chopped parsley
1 lime
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 scotch bonnet pepper diced finely
1 scallion

Stuffing

3 cups Jamaican callaloo
1 onion
2 cloves garlic
2 sprigs thyme
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup coconut milk
1/4 teaspoon salt
pinch black pepper
1/4 scotch bonnet pepper

Notes: I much prefer using red snapper for this dish, but the prices were too high for my wallet (the reality of not living in the Caribbean). If you can’t source Jamaican callaloo, you can use spinach or any of your favorite greens (Swiss Chard, Pak Choi.. collard greens?).

 

Wash, trim and chop the callaloo into 1/2  inch pieces and allow to drain dry in a colander. Heat the olive oil on a medium flame then add the sliced garlic, onion and thyme. Turn the heat down to low and let that soften up for a couple minutes. Now add the cut callaloo and top with the salt, black pepper, scotch bonnet pepper and coconut milk. Turn the heat up to bring to a boil then reduce the heat to medium and cook with the pot uncovered for about 7-10 minutes.

It will wilt down and go a bit darker in colour.. that’s normal. If there’s any residual liquid in the pot after 7 minutes, turn up the heat and burn it off. Then set aside allow to cool for stuffing the fish.

As it cools, lets make the seasoned oil for adding extra flavor to the fish as it grills.

In a deep bowl mix together the olive oil, salt, pepper, parsley,chopped scallion, juice of a lime and finely diced scotch bonnet pepper. Slice the onion in rings and set aside.

Make sure your fish is scaled, washed and dry. Cut a couple slits (not too deep) across the belly of the fish so some of the seasoned oil can get in to do it’s thing. Then spread a (double) sheet of tin foil and brush some of the seasoned oil where the fish will be placed. Now add some of the onion rings and place the fish on top of that. Take 1/2 of the now cooled cooked callaloo and stuff the cavity of the fish. Then pour some of the seasoned oil on top of the fish (spoon it on) and top with a few of the onion rings. Wrap the tin foil to encase the fish and create a package.Repeat with the next fish!

It’s just a matter of grilling as you would normally grill fish. In my case I did it over a charcoal fire (love the flavors you get) but you can also use a propane grill or if you don’t have a grill.. the oven (about 375 F for about 25-30 minutes). I grilled away from direct flame (so indirect heat) and it took about 30 minutes or so (the last 4 minutes I placed the packages over direct heat to ensure I get a flaky fish when it was done cooking).

Do remember to be gentle when flipping them and when it’s done cooking allow to cool for a minute or two or risk getting burned when you open the packages as steam will form.

Serve with some lemon or lime slices and I love having this with boiled sweet potato or steam okras!

I do hope you enjoy this years month of grilling and I look forward to bringing you some more exciting dishes off the grill in July 2014! BTW, do you have any sort of recipe or tradition in place for when you meet with your dearest friends.. friends like mine who took the place of my siblings when I moved to Canada many moons ago?

Before you go, don’t forget to check out the latest cooking videos, connect with me on twitter and join our community on facebook. oh yea! leave me a comment below – it’s appreciated.

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Fiery Scotch Bonnet Honey Grilled Shrimp.

Fiery Scotch Bonnet Honey Grilled Shrimp.

As we begin July’s month of grilling as we’ve done in the past, I thought I’d start off with a dish which is very easy to prepare and has the wonderful flavors of the Caribbean in every bite. Don’t be intimidated with the amount of scotch bonnet pepper we used as it’s well balanced with the earthy sweetness of the honey. If Tehya can come upstairs with clean bamboo skewers in hand and say “dad this shrimp was on point!”, I’m sure you can handle the little Caribbean sunshine of it all.

 

You’ll need…

1 pound large shrimp or prawns, peeled and deveined (16-20)
2 tablespoon honey
2 tablespoon  olive oil
2 Scotch Bonnet pepper, diced
1 teaspoon fresh minced garlic
1 scallion chopped finely

* pinch of sea salt (or any salt you have)

Notes: Wear gloves when handling scotch bonnet peppers and do remember to wash your hands immediately after with soap and water. Do NOT include any of the seeds and white membrane surround the seeds if you’re overly concerned about the raw heat.

 

If you’re not sure how to peel and devein shrimp, watch this video…

 

There are really just two steps to preparing this dish (marinate and grill).. So let’s start off by marinating the shrimp. In a strong zipper bag or plastic container, place the cleaned shrimp and all the other ingredients. Give it a good toss and store it in the fridge for one hour.

As the shrimp marinates, I’d recommend soaking the bamboo skewers in water to help prevent them from burning while on the grill. After one hour, it’s just a matter of threading the shrimp onto the skewers and heading out to a relatively hot grill. If you have a grill pan, you can certainly make these indoors on your stove.

When I cleaned my shrimp I left a little bit of the tail/shell on, just for presentation purposes.. the choice is yours.

Lightly grease your grill surface to prevent sticking (I used cooking spray, but you can dampen a paper towel with vegetable oil and brush) then place the skewers on (medium/low flame) on one side for 3-4 minutes.

After which you’ll then flip them over and cook for another couple minutes. Try not to over-cook them and pay attention to any flare-ups which may cause them to burn. The lid of my grill was covered during the grilling process . Remember they will continue cooking with its residual heat after removing off the direct flame, so factor that in so you don’t end up with rubbery shrimp at the end.

Squeeze on some fresh lemon juice and enjoy! I got 5 skewers with the one lb of shrimp and that’s pretty much enough for 5 people (1 skewer had only 2 shrimp though). Your guests will be raving after just one bite, so I would definitely double up on the recipe (just the shrimp as there will be enough marinade) to accommodate their immediate addiction.

Don’t forget to check back all of this month for more exciting and taste-bud challenging recipes off the grill!

Before you go, don’t forget to check out the latest cooking videos, connect with me on twitter and join our community on facebook. oh yea! leave me a comment below – it’s appreciated.

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Saltfish (salted cod) Stir Fry Recipe.

Saltfish (salted cod) Stir Fry Recipe.

In the past we’ve used beef and shrimp as the base for delightful stir fry Caribbean style, but there’s no reason why we can’t use one of the most popular ingredients in the Caribbean with similar or dare I say better results. Saltfish (dry slated cod or other white fish) is a much revered ingredient throughout the Caribbean, so using it to add flavor to a quick stir fry came quite natural.

 

You’ll Need…

3/4 cup salted fish (flaked)
1 cup carrots (julienne)
2 cups cabbage
1.5 cups bell peppers (use any color you like)
2 scallions
1 medium onion
2 tablespoon vegetable oil
pinch black pepper
1/4 teaspoon grated ginger
1 teaspoon dark soy sauce
1 teaspoon fresh thyme
1/4 scotch bonnet pepper

Notes: You’ll need to prepare the salted fish before using. Cover with water in a  pot and boil for about 25 minutes. Drain, rinse (squeeze dry) and shred/flake. I usually get boned saltfish so I don’t have to worry about the tiny bones, but do keep an eye out for any which may still be present.

Heat the oil in a wok or large non-stick frying pan on medium heat. Add the salted fish and cook for about 2-3 minutes. Then add the onion, ginger, thyme, carrots and bell peppers.

After 3 minutes (be sure to keep stirring) add the cabbage, soy sauce, black pepper and scotch bonnet pepper (don’t use any seeds). Mix well!

Here’s where you’ll personalize the dish.. I cooked it for 3 minutes after adding the cabbage as I like a little crunch on my vegetables (especially cabbage) but you can cook longer if you wish. Top with the scallions and get ready to serve.

You’ll notice that we didn’t add any salt to this dish as the slated fish will still have a trace amount of salt and the soy sauce will also help finish seasoning the dish. I would recommend serving this as soon as you’re done, so you get the full freshness of the vegetables. In less than7 minutes, you’ll have a wonderful dish to serve your family. BTW, this saltfish stir fry makes delicious sandwiches.

Before you go, don’t forget to check out the latest cooking videos, connect with me on twitter and join our community on facebook. oh yea! leave me a comment below – it’s appreciated.

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Green (fig) Bananas With Cabbage and Saltfish.

Green (fig) Bananas With Cabbage and Saltfish.

This green fig with saltfish recipe is a tribute to the wonderful people of St Lucia. On our first trip to St Lucia many moons ago I was fortunate to have something very  similar to this meal and I remember our hosts saying that it was their national dish. I never really confirmed this, as we were too caught-up in enjoying the great food and general hospitality of St Lucia. BTW, if you ever visit St Lucia and you’re ‘convinced’ that you should go to signal hill… make sure you’re in good shape. That trek up the hill had me craving oxygen! My time would have been better spent drinking a coconut at the Castries market.

It’s funny how when you’re a child on the islands you always think whatever your mom made was her recipe or creation… not knowing that up and down the chain of islands known as the Caribbean the same dishes are prepared for kids just like us by their mom. How could this be a popular dish in St Lucia when our mom was the only one who knew how to make it?

 

You’ll Need…

2 lbs green cooking bananas
pinch black pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 medium onion
2 cloves garlic
1/4 scotch bonnet pepper
2 cups cabbage
2 sprigs thyme
2 tablespoon chopped parsley
3/4 cup saltfish
1 medium tomato

Notes. The salted fish will still have remaining salt, so keep this in mind when adding salt to the dish. Remember to wear gloves when handling scotch bonnet peppers and be sure to wash your hands with soap and water directly after. Green fig is simply green ‘cooking’ bananas.

You have 2 options when it comes to cooking the green fig (bananas), you can either peel them before boiling or peel after they’re done cooking. I’ll show you the simple method. Trim off the ends and discard, then using a sharp pairing knife cut a shallow cut (the thickness of the skin) down the length of the banana (follow one of the natural ridges). TIP: coat your hands with vegetable oil or wear gloves as the sap from the green bananas can stain or cause your hands to itch.

Place the trimmed bananas in a deep pot, cover with water and bring to a boil. Then reduce to a rolling boil and let them cook for about 20 minutes. You’ll notice two things. They will darken (even go black) and where you made the cut, it will open up.

Drain and allow to cool so it’s easier to handle (peel).

The salt fish (salt cod in my case), was soaked in cool water, then drained. After which I placed it in a pot with about 4 cups of water and boiled for about 25 minutes.  We need to rehydrate the dried salted fish and remove most of the salt it was cured in. I usually get boned salted fish, so there’s never any bones to remove. Rinse with cool water and squeeze dry. Now shred into the size flakes yo like.

Chop/shred your cabbage, onion, tomato, garlic, thyme and parsley. Then heat the vegetable oil (you can also use olive or coconut oil) on a medium flame in a deep sauce pan. Add the flaked salted fish and turn the heat down to low. Let that cook for about 4 minutes as we want to create a lovely flavor base.

Now add the onion, garlic, scotch bonnet pepper, black pepper and thyme and let it cook for a further 3 minutes.

Toss in the shredded cabbage and give it a good stir. It’s also now time to add the boiled bananas (they should be cool enough to handle). The cut we made before boiling them would have opened up, so simply peel back and remove the skin. If you see any sort of stringy things, remove those as well. Now chop into 1 inch pieces and add to the pot and sprinkle in the salt.

Turn the heat up to med/low and make sure to mix everything well so the flavors coat the green bananas. After about 4 minutes (depending how cooked you want the cabbage… I like a little crunch) toss in the diced tomato and parsley, give it a stir, cover the pot and turn off the heat. Let the residual heat from the pot finish cooking things.

This is a one pot dish and there’s enough here for 2-3 people as a full meal. If it’s being used as a side it will be enough for about 5 people easily. I refer to such meals as “country” meals as it takes me back to when I was a carefree kid on the islands and life was very simple in our little village in the countryside.

Before you go, don’t forget to check out the latest cooking videos, connect with me on twitter and join our community on facebook. oh yea! leave me a comment below – it’s appreciated.

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Caribbean Spinach With Shrimp Recipe.

Caribbean Spinach With Shrimp Recipe.

Today we’ll be using two of my favorite ingredients in a combination similar to how our mom would do bhaji (dasheen bush) and salted fish (salt cod) when we were kids. With a little heat from scotch bonnet peppers and with a wicked garlic/onion base, it will be outstanding. And very quick to put together.

You’ll need…

1 med onion
2 tablespoon olive oil
1 bunch spinach
2 cloves garlic
pinch salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 scotch bonnet pepper
1 cup pre-cooked shrimp.

Note: You can leave out the scotch bonnet pepper if you’re concerned about the heat (it’s minimal) and do try to get tiny pre-cooked shrimp as they tend to be “sweeter” as we say in the Caribbean.

This is a very quick recipe as spinach cooks really fast and the shrimp is already pre-cooked.

Heat the oil on a medium flame and add the diced onion and garlic. Turn the heat down to low and let it cook (soften) for about 3-4 minutes.

Wash and drain the spinach, turn up the heat to medium high and add the washed spinach. Top with the black pepper, scotch bonnet pepper  and salt. Add the shrimp (I would recommend giving them a rinse in cool water and drain before adding to the pot) and give it a good stir. Do not cover the pan (you don’t want to create any additional moisture). It will quickly start to wilt and darken in colour.

Here is where you’ll personalize it a bit. When it’s cooked to your liking (about 3-4 minutes for me) turn off the stove. Remember to taste for salt and adjust accordingly.

Note: The spinach will naturally release liquid, so you may have to turn up the heat on your stove to burn that off quickly and not over-cook the spinach.

There’s enough here for 3-4 people as a side dish, so feel free to add more spinach if you’re cooking for a bigger party. Simply adjust the salt! If you can’t source spinach, Jamaican callaloo (or chorai bhaji) would be a good substitute.. just cook longer to soften.

Before you go, don’t forget to check out the latest cooking videos, connect with me on twitter and join our community on facebook. oh yea! leave me a comment below – it’s appreciated.

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Zesty Caribbean Pan Fried Sardines Recipe.

Zesty Caribbean Pan Fried Sardines Recipe.

I remember our mom having this ready for our dad when he came home from work after a long day with dhal (yellow split peas) and rice.. always had some sliced cucumber and water cress on the side. My king would be in dinner ecstasy! Fry dry as it was known in our home, wasn’t something me and my siblings  looked forward too as our dad, as we hated the tiny little bones of the sardines. Something if fried correctly will have a slight crunch and can be eaten as well.

You’ll Need…

1lb sardines
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 clove garlic
1 shallot
2 sprig thyme
2 scallions
1 tablespoon parsley
3 leaves shado beni
1/4 scotch bonnet pepper
pinch black pepper
1 lemon (juice) for the marinade
3/4 cup flour
1/4 teaspoon curry powder
* about 2 cups of veg oil for frying

Notes: If you can’t source shado beni, use double the amount of cilantro. Remember to not use any of the seeds from the scotch bonnet pepper if you’re concerned about the raw heat. And do wash your hands with soap and water immediately after handling these lethal peppers.

* Scale and gut the sardines (if it wasn’t already done for you at the fish market), then wash with the juice of a lime or lemon and cool water. Drain and get ready to marinate.

Place all the ingredients mentioned above (except the flour, curry powder and fish) into a blender or food processor and blend into a paste. Be prepared for a very refreshing (herbal) scent.. you’ll love it!

Pour the marinade onto the cleaned sardines and mix well. Try to get some into the belly cavity of the fish. Cover and place in the fridge to marinate for 2 hours. If you don’t have a blender, chop the ingredients very finely.

As the vegetable (any oil which can withstand high heat) oil heats on a medium flame, it’s time to make the seasoned flour to roll the marinated sardines in. Basically all you have to do is place the flour (all purpose) on a plate and mix in the curry  powder (madras blend). Then coat each sardine in the seasoned flour. Try to keep some of the marinade on the fish as you dust them in the flour. Be sure to shake off excess flour.

Place in the hot oil and cook on each side for about 3-4 minutes… you’re looking for it to go golden in color and crispy. After about 7-8 minutes (I know it sounds like a long time to cook tiny fish.. but we want these crispy) remove, drain on paper towels and do try to serve as hot as you can.

There will be enough here for 3-4 people as a side dish and these crispy fried sardines can also double as a snack. Serve warm, with pepper sauce as a dip.. a garlic sauce would also go well.

Before you go, don’t forget to check out the latest cooking videos, connect with me on twitter and join our community on facebook. oh yea! leave me a comment below – it’s appreciated.

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Fried Seasoned Red Snapper.

Fried Seasoned Red Snapper.

The only way our mom would get us to eat fish as kids was when she would pan fry King Fish and serve it to us with ketchup and a little pepper sauce. I guess it’s the same way our daughters learned to appreciate fish, as my mom (grandma) would purposely make fried fish when she visited to get them liking something most North American kids passionately hate. Seasoned to perfection and marinated for a couple hrs before they’re dusted in flour and pan fried, this recipe can be adopted for any fish you like. For me, it MUST be sea fish (I’m no friend of fresh water fish) and I want it hot and even better if the skin is a bit crisp.

 

You’ll Need…

2 lbs Red Snapper
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 onion diced fine
1/2 teaspoon pepper sauce
1/4 teaspoon curry powder
1 teaspoon Caribbean Green Seasoning
2 cloves garlic crushed
1/2 cup flour
veg oil for frying

Notes: I used a Madras curry powder, blended in the Caribbean. You can use finely chopped scotch bonnet instead of peppersauce or any hot sauce you like. I used 3 small Red Snappers.. beware of bones when eating/serving. Feel free to use any type of fish you like as this recipe is very forgiving.

Scale, gut and wash the fish, then pat dry and get ready to marinate. But before you do so, (depending on how large your fish are.. 2 cuts may be necessary) give it a shallow cut across the belly so the marinade will do it’s thing.

Pour everything except the flour and oil on the fish and massage it into the fish (belly cavity and cut/s). Cover and allow it to marinate in the fridge for at least 1 hr.

Put about 2-3 cups of vegetable oil to heat on a med flame and get the seasoned fish ready for frying. Set up a sort of station, with a plate with the flour, the pan with the heated oil and a plate lined with paper towels to drain off the excess oil after frying. WARNING! Be sure to open the windows in the your kitchen and turn on the exhaust fan if you have one. The scent of fried fish will linger.

Dust the fish in the flour, don’t worry about shaking off the marinade as it will be delightful when cooked with the fish. Make sure to cover both sides of the fish, then gently place them into the hot oil. The idea is to cook the fish on each side for about 4-6 minutes (depending on the thickness of the fish you use and how crisp you like your fried fish). After which it’s just a matter of placing on the paper towels, then serve warm. If you’re reheating these, I would recommend doing so in an oven and not a microwave.

IMPORTANT! If you’re using whole fish as I did , do remember there will be bones (choking hazard). This recipe will also work great with fish fillets (bones removed) so that would be a good option if you plan serving this to kids. You may ask why bother with anything but fillets.. if you’ve ever had a fried whole fish, you’ll know how tasty it can be.

Before you go, don’t forget to check out the latest cooking videos, connect with me on twitter and join our community on facebook. oh yea! leave me a comment below – it’s appreciated.

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Curry Shrimp With Butternut Squash.

Curry Shrimp With Butternut Squash.

How I love me some shrimp cooked in butternut squash or pumpkin.. let me count the ways. This is one of my favorite recipes and it’s a take on another one I shared a while back which our mom is a boss at making – shrimp cooked in pumpkin. But this time we’ll be adding some additional flavor by incorporating a madras blend curry into the mix.  Not only is this a delightful way to prepare butternut squash (you can also use Caribbean style pumpkin), it’s a great way to add flavor to what could be considered a typically boring dish.

You’ll Need…

1 lb shrimp (peeled/deveined)
1 med butternut squash (about 4-5 cups)
1 small onion (diced)
3 cloves garlic crushed
3/4 teaspoon salt (divided)
1 tablespoon curry powder
1/4 scotch bonnet pepper (no seeds)
3 tables spoons olive oil (divided)
1/4 teaspoon grated ginger
1 tablespoon green seasoning
1 tablespoon brown sugar

* For the green seasoning mix, see : Caribbean Green Seasoning. I used a madras curry powder blend from the Caribbean Much different than what you’d find elsewhere and can be found at your local West Indian grocery store and some online stores.

Peel, devein, wash and drain the shrimp and get ready for seasoning. In a bowl place the cleaned shrimp and add 1/4 teaspoon of the salt and the green seasoning, give it a good mix and allow it to marinate while we prep the butternut squash. Try to not let the shrimp marinate more than 15 minutes.

If you’ve never worked with butternut squash you’ll find it a bit tough to cut and peel, so it’s important that you have a sharp knife. It will have a sort of bottle shape, so the first thing I do is to cut off the sort of ‘neck’ shape (see pic). Make it easier to handle. I then cut the sort of ball shape in half to expose the seeds. Using a spoon, scoop out the seeds and stuff surrounding the seeds. Discard or save to roast as you would pumpkin seeds.

Then cut into smaller more manageable pieces and peel with a sharp pairing knife or potato peeler. You’ll find the skin is tough and somewhat waxy. Cubed into 1 inch pieces and rinse with cool water. If you’re doing this in advance, be sure to place it in a bowl and cover with cool water so it remains fresh and not discolored.

In a deep sauce pan heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil on low heat, then add the diced onion and crushed garlic. Let that cook for about 4 minutes so it releases it’s wonderful flavors. Then add the scotch bonnet pepper, grated ginger (dice fine – wear gloves when handling scotch bonnet peppers and wash your hands with soap) and curry powder. With your heat still on low.. we’re cooking the curry so you don’t get a raw curry taste later on.

Now turn up the heat to med/high and toss in the seasoned shrimp. Cook for 3-4 minutes (we don’t want to over cook the shrimp) with the pot open. Remember to stir well and try to get the shrimp to pick up some of the base flavors we started with. Remove the shrimp and add the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil.

Toss in the cubed squash and give it a good stir. Now add the remaining salt, brown sugar and black pepper. Give it another quick stir, reduce the heat to med/low and cover the pot. Allow that to cook for about 15-20 minutes (remember to stir often). With the lid closed the squash will spring it’s own juices. If you find that it starts sticking to the bottom of the pot, lower the heat.

After 15 minutes, turn up the heat and remove the lid off the pot. We’re now trying to burn off any excess liquid. We also want to control the texture (I like it a like a thick paste) so using the back of my cooking spoon I pressed down on any chunky pieces of squash.

With most of the liquid burned off, it’s time to add the pre-cooked shrimp back to the pot and give it a good stir and taste for salt. Adjust accordingly.

Do try your best to burn off as much liquid as you can so you don’t have a soup consistency. This will heighten the overall flavor of the completed dish and with that curry shrimp base.. it will be fantastic. After adding the shrimp try not to cook too long (about 2-3 minutes) as we don’t want the shrimp to go chewy.

This curry shrimp with butternut squash is good with roti, rice, bread or you can treat it like any typical side. You can certainly leave out the shrimp if you want to keep this a vegetarian dish and if you’re wondering.. there’s enough here as a side dish for 5-6 people.

Before you go, don’t forget to check out the latest cooking videos, connect with me on twitter and join our community on facebook. oh yea! leave me a comment below – it’s appreciated.

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Shrimp, Avocado and Mango Salad.

Shrimp, Avocado and Mango Salad.

In the Caribbean we’re notorious for having heavy meals, not as if I’m complaining but there are times when a salad is the order of the day. Using ingredients which are important in the culinary landscape of the islands, you’ll find this salad very simple to put together and amazed by it’s unique flavors.

As a kid growing up on the islands we had several avocado (aka pear or zabouca) tress surrounding our house, so I grew up having a strong appreciation for this wonderful fruit. This will explain why you’ll see it used in so many different recipes I share.

 

You’ll Need…

3/4 lb shrimp (cooked)
1 avocado
1 mango
2 tablespoon chopped cilantro
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 medium red onion
1 cup grape tomatoes (optional)
1 grapefruit

Dressing

3 tablespoon orange juice
1 chilli pepper chopped fine
1 teaspoon honey
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 teaspoon grated ginger

Notes: I used pre-packaged shrimp which were already cleaned and cooked (steamed). Check the frozen section of your grocery store. With the mango you need one which is not fully ripe (half ripe as we say in the Caribbean)  as you need it to hold it’s shape and not fall apart when mixed with the other ingredients. Don’t cut or peel the avocado until you’re almost done assembling the salad and ready to gently toss with the dressing or it will go discolored.

Peel, wash and dice the mango. Remember there will be a hard seed in the center of the mango.

Peel and cut the grapefruit into segments. Do so but cutting off the top (stem) and bottom of the grapefruit (so it sits stable on your cutting board). Then using a sharp knife, with a sort of sawing motion, cut and discard the skin. Go deep enough to expose the flesh of the grapefruit. You will now have a ball shape with exposed juicy grapefruit. Cut the segments and gently handle them.

Wash and chop the cilantro, then slice the onion very thin and get ready to assemble everything. As I mentioned above I used frozen pre-cooked shrimp so I allowed them to thaw, then rinsed and pat dry with paper towels.

Let’s now make the dressing we’ll be using. Chop the chilli pepper (remove the seeds if you’re concerned about the raw heat) and add everything to a bowl and give it a good whisk.

Put all the ingredients (not the dressing or avocado) in a large bowl and season with the salt and black pepper. If you don’t have grape tomatoes, you can use a regular tomato, but do remove the seeds.

Add the dressing, give it a mix, then add the diced avocado. Try to be gentle from this point on as we don’t want to make the ripe avocado into a mush. Gently fold so everything gets coated in the wonderful dressing.

You’ll love the creaminess of the avocado, the wonderful fruitiness of the mango, the exciting flavors of the dressing and the shrimp will set this off! What I especially like is the ‘pop’ you get when you burst into one of the plump grape tomatoes. If you want you can chill this before adding the dressing as it will not keep after you add the dressing. There’s enough here for 5 people as a starter or 3 people as a main course for lunch. BTW..watch for the little kick from the chilli pepper we used.

Before you go, don’t forget to check out the latest cooking videos, connect with me on twitter and join our community on facebook. oh yea! leave me a comment below – it’s appreciated.

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