One of my favorite memories of Barbados… tired, hungry and just exhausted from a long day of traveling to the island (gotta love slow customs and immigration). Luckily we opted for dinner at a local street vendor who had fresh-off-the-coal-fire – roasted breadfruit, stuffed with stewed red herrings. This son of the Caribbean was in heaven. Here’s my take on that delicious stewed smoked herrings.
1 lb red herring fillets (called smoke herring on some islands)
2 medium onions (sliced)
2 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
3-5 sprigs thyme
3 cloves garlic (smashed)
3 scallions (chopped)
10 cherry tomatoes (or 1 large diced)
1 1/2 tablespoon tomato puree
2 tablespoon parsley (chopped fine)
1 scotch bonnet (sliced)
3/4 cup water
1/2 lime (juice)
Important. If doing this recipe gluten free, please go through the full list of ingredients to make sure they meet with your specific gluten free dietary needs. Use as much Scotch Bonnet (any spicy pepper you like) as you can handle and remember to wear gloves and wash your hands with soap and water after handling such hot peppers.
I used Smoked Herring fillets as it meant less work for me. Typically you’d have to remove the skin, large bones etc. TIP! wear gloves or the scent will remain on you hand for hours. Burn that scented candle in your house (smile).
Pour boiling water over the fillets to remove the excess salt and smoke and to rehydrate the herrings. Yes there will be tiny bones, try to remove as much as you can, but if some of them are too small to remove, doh (don’t) sweat.
Once cooled, drain, pour more warm water and rinse. Drain dry and squeeze. Now break up the fillets into small pieces and set aside.
In a saucepan on a medium flame, add the olive followed by the onions. Reduce the heat to low, so we can gently sweat the onion (about 3 minutes). Add the black pepper, scotch bonnet pepper, garlic and thyme. Cook for another 2 minutes (stir well).
Add the bell pepper and cook another 2 minutes. Then create a space in the center of the pan and add the tomato paste, so it’s in direct contact with the surface (helps to bring out the natural sweetness of the tomato) stir. Raise the heat to medium/low and cook for 2 minutes.
Add the prepared herring, followed by the scallions and tomato. Stir well, crank the heat to med/high and add the water. Bring to a boil. Lid On.
As it comes to a boil, stir, turn the heat down and simmer (lid open) for 3-5 minutes.
Finally (turn the stove off) add the lime juice and parsley, one final stir and you’re ready to enjoy.
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