Upping the Ante on Local Favourites

Thursday, September 19, 2019

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Hands down, Jamaica has some of the best food on Earth! Our bold flavours, creative use of vegetables and tubers, and expert handling of offal make our cuisine beloved at home and abroad. However, sometimes we want to add a little twist to local favourites to spice things up.

Escoveitch fish is both a go-to seaside lunch and, for many, a Friday night staple. However, the escoveitch sauce works well with an array of seafood. For escovitch that's full of flavour but can be executed lickety-split, use sea bass fillets. To add an extra twist, make a simple batter with which to coat the bass, and deep-fry it. While you're at it make some French fries for escoveitch fish and chips. Now that's fusion!

Many of us have fallen in love with jerk lamb, but how about a jerk lamb burger? Get the deep flavour of the increasingly popular dish without all the effort. Start with quality ground lamb, mix in your favourite jerk seasoning and whatever spice blends that accentuate the lamb's natural flavours. Once grilled to the desired doneness, schmear burger buns with mint mayo (a chiffonade of fresh mint mixed with mayonnaise), add a dollop of Dijon and your favourite toppings and you're in for a tasty meal.

Next up: stew peas. Yes, pig's tails and salt beef are great, but what to do when you crave a hearty plate of stew peas but only have chorizo and bacon in the fridge? Well, use them! The spicy and salty porcine sausage is an excellent substitute to the pig's tail, and the smokiness of the bacon adds a depth of flavour that's delicious. Want to really up the ante? Add some pork belly! You may not be able to convincingly call this stew peas, but culinary creativity requires breaking a few rules.

Ackee, oh, ackee! We love it for breakfast, lunch or dinner. No wonder it's our national dish. If we remove the salt fish, what else could be used to jazz it up? How about smoked salmon? The fattiness and the delicious smokiness of the fish perfectly complement ackee's unctuousness.

Finally, callaloo and salt fish, too, can get a culinary revamp. Next time, use shrimp instead of salt fish to make this dish the star of dinner.


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