While Ackee and Saltfish might sound like some dynamic crime fighting duo from the 70’s, it’s actually a traditional Jamaican dish, and globally recognized as the country’s national dish. My coworker shared some of her Aunt Rose’s fantastic home-made Jamaican cooking with me again, and I couldn’t wait to bring it home to try out. It was delicious.
If you haven’t heard of ackee before, you’re not alone. It’s Jamaica’s national fruit and based upon looks, one would wonder who would try to eat it in the first place. It’s poisonous in its unripe state, which releases toxins that cause fatal vomiting and seizures, a symptom known as Jamaican Vomiting Sickness. Sounds like a fun time.
In it’s ripened state however, the fruit opens up exposing black shiny seeds, surrounded by fleshy yellow meat, called arils. They remind me of those big worms from the move Tremors. The seeds are disposed of and the arils are cooked. It is usually mixed with salt fish, which is usually made from cod.
If all you know about Jamaican cuisine is jerk chicken, then perhaps it’s time to dive a bit deeper.