Ackee & saltfish. The big kahuna. Basically the most important Jamaican dish.
It is the country’s national dish and the meal I personally associate with my Jamaican heritage the most. Countless brunches, holidays, and lazy Sundays have revolved around this savory dish that is usually accompanied with some moist flaky fried dumpling. It simply doesn’t get any better.
This recipe uses tinned ackee. This is what is available to me but next time I come across some fresh ackee I will see how it alters the recipe. I must say the tinned ackee is great in this dish.
Drain the ackee and start prepping the saltfish. Boil the ackee to remove some of the salt from the saltfish.
Pick apart the saltfish to the texture shown above.
Slice a half a pack of bacon in quarters and add to pan.
Chop all of the ingredients that require chopping and add to a pan.
Cook the herbs down in the pan before adding the other ingredients.
Add the saltfish and bacon that you had set aside. Cook for a few minutes and add the drained ackee.
- 1/2 pack of bacon, sliced into quarters
- 3 medium sized onions, chopped
- 2 19 oz cans of ackee, drained
- 1 lb saltfish
- handful of thyme, about 10 stalks
- 9 garlic cloves, chopped
- 1 scotch bonnet pepper, finely chopped
- 3 scallion stalks, chopped
- 1 large tomato, chopped
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp pepper
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- Prep your saltfish by putting in pot over high heat covered with water. Bring water to a boil and pour out water. Cover with new water and bring to a boil again. Repeat this process two to three times depending on how salty you want your ackee. I tend to do three boils (and I like things a bit salty).
- Pick saltfish apart so it is all separated like in the picture above.
- Add sliced bacon to pan over medium heat and cook until crisp, Set aside and remove the bacon oil from the pan.
- Heat olive oil in pan over medium heat. When oil is hot add onion, scallion, tomato, thyme, and scotch bonnet to the pan.
- Cook the mixture for a few minutes until it cooks down a bit.
- Add the saltfish, crispy bacon, salt and pepper to the pan and combine all the ingredients.
- Lastly add the ackee to the pan and gently mix in (as to not break up the ackee too much) until it is warmed.
Photography by Tiffanie Graham