One of the key ingredients used in many of the dishes we enjoy in the Caribbean is salted fish or saltfish as it’s lovingly known. Traditionally salted cod was the choice of the day, but in recent years there’s been more variety (other whitefish, such as pollock, haddock, blue whiting, ling and tusk). Though the thought of eating salted fish may turn some of you off, I assure you that these savory corn muffins will impress. If there’s one time to give this wonderful ingredient a try, it’s now.
1 cup shredded salted cod
1 1/2 tbsp mayo
1 tsp chopped scotch bonnet pepper
1/4 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp fresh grated lemon zest
3/4 cup old cheddar (grated) divided
1 tablespoon chopped parsley
2 tablespoon diced bell peppers
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup corn meal
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tbsp minced green onions
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup melted butter
Notes: The salted cod will come in as a fillet (hard and very salty)and I recommend you purchase the boned one. In a deep pot place the salted cod and pour cold water over it (cover) and allow to soak (overnight is best). Then drain, refill with water and bring to a boil. reduce to a simmer and cook for about 25 minutes. Drain, rinse with cool water and shred. This will remove most of the salt from the fish and rehydrate it so it’s flaky and tender.
Place the shredded salted fish into a fairly large bowl and add the ingredients for the filling (Please reserve about 1/4 cup of the cheese for topping the muffins). Remember to use gloves when handling scotch bonnet peppers, wash your hands immediately after use with soap and don’t include any seeds. If you don’t have scotch bonnet peppers, you can use a 1/2 teaspoon of pepper sauce (hot sauce). For a bit of contrast I used red and yellow sweet bell peppers.
Give it a good stir and set aside.
It’s now time to make the batter for these delicious cornmeal muffins. In a deep bowl add the dry ingredients (flour, corn meal, salt and baking powder) and give it a good mix. Then add everything else and mix well. Please try to not over-mix. Once incorporated..STOP!
Spray some cooking spray in a 12 cup muffin tray and divide the batter into them evenly. Then drop in a teaspoon full of the saltfish filling in the middle of each and using your fingers, gently push it down so it’s peeking at you from the top of each muffin. Now top with the 1/4 cup of grated cheese we reserved.
Place on the middle rack of a 350F pre-heated oven for 25-30 minutes and you’re good to go. Remove from the muffin tray (you may need to use a knife to release the sides) and allow to cool on a cooling rack for a few minutes before serving.
These savory corn muffins are excellent at breakfast and perfect for the family who are always on the go. Grab a couple as you head out the door and you’re set. Remember, don’t be turned off by the use of the salted cod as it’s a wonderful flavor to add to just about ‘any’ (so my dad thinks) dish.