One fish, two fish, red fish, saltfish
Sun, sand and sea is a delicious recipe by its very nature. Add a plate of ackee and saltfish, a traditional Jamaican dish of the creamy, savory ackee fruit and rehydrated dried fish, and you're well on the way to concocting paradise.
A splash of rum won't hurt to add to the mix either. Or, for the braver souls, a generous shot of the liquor in a Red Stripe beer for a local fisherman's drink called a \"steel bottom.\"
For the rum drinker's benefit, Jamaican side dishes can often be starch-heavy: There's roasted or fried breadfruit, plantains, sweet potatoes and yams to accompany hearty oxtail stews, jerk-spiced meats and curry goat, with staples like the leafy green callaloo, coconut rice and field peas rounding out the mix.
Island eating means seafood, and lots of it -- like the fiery pepper shrimp that Jamaican sisters Suzanne and Michelle Rousseau cook up in their new cookbook, \"Caribbean Potluck.\"
\"Pepper 'swims,' or shrimp seasoned with chili peppers, are sold by shrimp vendors on the roadside and at stoplights in various parts of the island,\" the Rousseaus write. \"Served at room temperature out of little plastic bags, they make for a tasty, quick, 'smoke out of the ears' snack when journeying around Jamaica.\"
Or, in this case, journeying to the dinner table.
Spicy Garlic 'Pepper' Shrimp
(Serves 4 to 6)
Reprinted with permission by Kyle Books from \"Caribbean Potluck\" by Suzanne and Michelle Rousseau
1 pound (16 or 20 count) fresh shrimp, in shells with heads on
2 tablespoons sea salt
2 cups vegetable oil
1 Scotch bonnet pepper, chopped with seeds
6 cloves garlic, diced
¼ cup sliced scallions
1 teaspoon sugar
1. Butterfly the shrimp and remove the veins but leave the shells and heads on. Place in a bowl and rub the shrimp with 1 tablespoon of the salt; let sit for at least 30 minutes.
2. Heat the oil in a wok or skillet over medium-high heat. In batches, add the shrimp and deep-fry for 40 to 60 seconds, then quickly remove from the oil with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. When all the shrimp have been deep-fried, pour the oil out of the pan, leaving just 1 tablespoon.
3. In small batches, quickly saute the Scotch bonnet, garlic, scallions, sugar and remaining 1 tablespoon sea salt over high heat for a few seconds. Add the shrimp in batches, give it a quick toss to coat with the seasoning and remove quickly from the pan; repeat until all the shrimp are finished. Serve immediately.