Jamaican Flavor

After eight days out of country, we are so glad to be back home!  Jamaica, and the work we were a part of there was a most humbling and beautiful experience. 
This being my second year, I knew for the most part what to expect, but my dear Audley did not.  I do know that after the time spent there he has fallen in love with the experience as much as I have.  
 
 
One of the highlights of visiting another country for any reason of course is the culinary experience.  We were treated to a variety of dishes from home-cooked meals of jerk chicken and pork chops to an open pit Jamaican bbq.
Ketchup is sweet; CocaCola light is served instead of diet Coke; a salad is made up of shredded cabbage, shredded carrots, & fresh tomato placed pretty on a platter; nearly every meal is accompanied by peas & rice; bammy bread replaces cornbread; goat is served curried; and you had better like chicken!

 

 

While we had a little down time in Negril towards the end of our trip, Audley decided to try fish for breakfast one morning.
This dish known as “escoveitch” in Jamaica, and is marinated in a sauce of vinegar, onions, chayote, carrots and scotch bonnet peppers overnight, since it is a traditional breakfast dish. 
 

 

Audley’s breakfast was made using fried snapper, a pepper, onion and vinegar mixture, and served with Callaloo (kind of like our spinach and prepared similarly), boiled white potatoes & yams, and bammy bread (a popular & traditional flatbread).

 




As a group we had tasted a different version of this same recipe earlier in our trip as one of the local church members there cooked it for us one evening.  



The fish was not filleted as we are accustomed, but laid out and cut as if slicing bread so that you ended up with rounds of fish, bone in the center of the ring.  


I didn’t get the recipe for this dish, but Chef Bobby Flay has a really good one that I thought I would share today.  Check it out, you might have a new family favorite for breakfast!


Escoveitch Fish

Ingredients

    • Pickled Red Onions

 

  • 1 large red onion, thinly sliced and rings separated
  • 1 cup red wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme leaves

 

 

Sauce:

    • 4 cups fresh orange juice

 

  • 1 habanero or Scotch Bonnet
  • 6 whole allspice berries
  • 2 teaspoons grated orange zest
  • White wine vinegar
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Honey, to taste, optional
  • Basil Oil
  • 1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup freshly chopped basil leaves
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Fish
  • 1 cup rice flour
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup water
  • Peanut oil or canola oil
  • 2 pounds pink snapper skin-on fillets, cut into 2-inch strips
  • Fresh basil leaves, for garnish

 

 

Directions

For the pickled red onions:
Bring a small pot of salted water to a boil, add the onions, cook for 1 minute and drain well. Transfer to a bowl.
Combine the vinegar, sugar, salt and pepper in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Cook until the sugar is dissolved, about 2 minutes. Remove from the heat, let cool slightly then pour the mixture over the onions. Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours. Stir in thyme before serving.
For the sauce:
Put the orange juice in a medium nonreactive saucepan and bring to a boil. Using a paring knife, make a small slit in the center of the habanero and add to the orange juice along with the allspice berries. Cook until thickened and reduced to about 1 cup. Strain into a bowl and let cool slightly. Add the zest and vinegar and season with salt, pepper and honey, to taste, if needed.
For the basil oil:
Combine the oil and basil in a blender and blend for 2 minutes. Strain into a bowl and season with salt and pepper.
For the fish:
Whisk together the flour, salt, pepper and enough water to make a batter with the consistency of crepe batter. Let sit 5 minutes.
Heat 2-inches of oil in a medium high-sided saute pan over high heat until it begins to shimmer. Put the flour in a large shallow bowl and season with salt and pepper. Season the fish with salt and pepper and dredged lightly in the flour, tapping off excess. Dip the fish in the batter and let excess drip off. Fry until golden brown. Drain on paper towels. Transfer to a platter, drizzle with the vinegar sauce and basil oil and top with some of the pickled red onions. Garnish with basil leaves.






I truly believe that trying new things in a different culture makes the experience so much more memorable.  Do you step out of the box when you travel?  What memorable dining experiences have you had?




While I loved traveling in Jamaica, I am so glad to be back home.  There is a lot of summer left and exciting things going on.  Most of all I am looking forward to relaxing and catching up with all the happenings in blogland!


I’m a little late linking up, but posting this to Foodie Friday this week!  Stop by and check out all the other culinary delights!




 

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