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Seafood, Side or Appetizer, Vegetables

Salt Cod and Akees

Akee plant & fruit

The Akee is a tree found all over Jamaica. Brought from Africa by Captain Bligh (of Mutiny on the Bounty fame) in 1778, it has become not only the national tree of Jamaica, but the virtual national dish.
You can find Akees in cans at many ethnic markets.

 

Serves: 4

 

Ingredients:

  • 3 slices bacon, cubed
  • 1 medium yellow onion or 3 scallions. Chopped
  • 1/1/2 lb. Salt Cod*
  • 1 19oz can akees, drained.
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • Salt, black pepper, and chili pepper to taste

Sauce:

  • 1/2 stick butter or margarine
  • 3/4 c. milk, half-and-half, or diluted evaporated milk
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp flour
  • 3/4 cup grated Gruyere, Pepato, Romano or sharp American cheese.
  • 1/2 Tbsp nutmeg
  • 1 egg yolk

 

Directions:
Begin with the sauce:

  1. Make a roux with butter and flour. Add milk gradually while stirring, stopping when syrupy. Add cheese and nutmeg over low heat. Whisk the yolk and add to the mix. Stir until smooth. Add more milk if needed. Put on back burner on lowest heat until the salt cod is ready.
  2. In a large pan, fry the bacon until crisp. Remove with slotted spoon and save.
  3. Fry onion in bacon fat until soft.
  4. Shred the salt cod.
  5. Combine the cod, akees, oregano, and bacon in the pan. Add salt, pepper, and chilis.
  6. Cover and simmer until very hot.
  7. Stir in the cheese sauce and serve.

 

Variations:
This version of this dish has been kept very simple so that you can experiment and add your own options to it.

  • A simple variation is to serve this over rice. Not very historically accurate, but tasty.
  • Add a tablespoon of curry powder (Madras) to the cheese sauce.
  • Add a large bell pepper to the onions in step 3.
  • Use a strongly cured ham instead of bacon.
  • Add 1/2 pound cubed ham to step 5.
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