Confused yet? I know the title says Vegan, but Saltfish! The simple explanation is… the classic dish is called Ackee and Saltfish in Jamaica, so I felt it was the easiest way to pay tribute to this national dish, while still keeping it vegan (and gluten free) friendly. Make sense yet?
1 can Ackee (washed/drained)
1.5 tablespoon coconut oil
1 bell pepper (sliced in thick strips)
1/2 scotch bonnet pepper (sliced thin)
3 cloves garlic (diced fine or crushed)
3 scallions (chopped)
4 sprigs thyme (leaves)
2 tablespoon parsley (chopped)
1 cup cherry or grape tomatoes (any tomato will work)
1/2 teaspoon hot smoked paprika
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
Important! If making this recipe gluten free be sure to go through the entire list of ingredients to make sure they meet with your specific gluten free dietary needs.
Since I live in Canada I have no choice but to use the ackee found in a can. This canned ackee is pre-cooked and in a salty brine solution. Drain the brine, rinse with cool water and set aside to air dry as we prep the other ingredients.
Heat the coconut oil in a wide pan on a low heat then add the scallions and bell pepper. Stir well then add the garlic, black pepper and scotch bonnet pepper. Remember to wear gloves and wash your hands with soap and water after handling the scotch bonnet pepper (and don’t include any seeds nor the white membrane around the seeds, unless you want the raw heat) .
Cook on the low heat for two minutes then add smoked paprika, tomato (I cut the grape tomatoes in 1/2) and parsley. I find that the slight smoky heat from the paprika reminds us of the Salted Cod which is traditionally used in this recipe in Jamaica. Cook a further 2 minutes.
For even more flavor, it’s time to go in with the thyme leaves and the salt. Your heat is still on low – cook another 2 minutes. Then gently add the Ackee to the pan. Be VERY Gentle please. Stir well to mix all the flavors.
Since the Ackee will be precooked, all you have to do is make sure it heats though and you’re done (about 3-4 minutes).
Taste for salt and adjust if necessary, then get ready to enjoy a lovely vegetarian version of Classic Jamaican Ackee and Saltfish.