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Ackee & Saltfish

Kwame Onwuachi

Lesson time 22 min

It’s not breakfast in Jamaica without ackee and saltfish, a dish that Kwame’s Grandma Gloria would serve him as a child. Kwame teaches all about Jamaica’s national dish that reminds him of comfort and heritage.

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Preview

– I’m gonna pull the fruit out. I wanna crisp the saltfish up. – Bro, I’m so excited for some breakfast. – Ready to eat? – Let’s get it. – Good morning – Its six to nine, Hello – Good morning, how are you – I am okay – [Friend] Whoa, that’s what I’m talking about. – Mm. – That’s it right there. – [Friend] That’s it. – That’s it right there. See, this is one of the only place you can get fresh ackee. For me this is just like, this is childhood. – This ackee is savory its so creamy, but it absolutely hits with the saltfish like… Think I can eat this everyday. – You know its my version of eggs and bacon and pancakes, like this is breakfast to me. Mm. So today we’re talking about ackee and saltfish. Ackee is the national fruit of Jamaica, which makes ackee and saltfish the national dish of Jamaica also. I grew up eating this dish. I can remember it for as long as I’ve been alive, it was just always there. My grandma, Gloria, use to serve it to me as a kid on the weekends and for me it reminds me of comfort and it just shows me my heritage. Ackee its this fruit that grows on this large tree. I call it a breakfast tree, cause if you got one of them in your backyard then you always have breakfast everyday. It tastes a little bit briny, its pretty sweet, but it does have a vegetal forward flavor with it as well. Which makes it perfect for breakfast. So you can do so many things to go with this, I mean you can do callaloo, you can do boiled and fried dumpling, ground food or ground provisions, which is green banana, green plantain, some boiled yams, so I’m teaching you how to make the base of a Jamaican breakfast here. So now I’m going to grab my ingredients to go with the ackee and all these flavors further accentuate just the essence of ackee and saltfish. So now I got my ingredients laid out, I’m going to grab my salt fish and we soaked it in water for about 24 hours. You can see, how the saltfish has been hydrated. Its nice and translucent, its plump and juicy. It still has a considerable amount of salt to it, its actually safe to eat at this point. I mean I could just eat that right now honestly. So I’m going to cook the salt fish and that’s going to tenderize it for a bit. It’s going to let me you know pick the bones out. You know this is a fish at the end of the day. So there are pin bones running through this and I wanna make sure that I can clean this all the way through. Just gonna place the saltfish in here. I’

About the Instructor

Kwame Onwuachi started peeling shrimp and stirring roux at 5 years old in his mother’s catering kitchen in the Bronx. The James Beard Award-winning chef has received many accolades since then, including FOOD & WINE’S Best New Chef, Esquire Magazine’s 2019 Chef of the Year, 30 Under 30 honoree by both Forbes and Zagat, and has appeared on Bravo’s Top Chef as both a contestant and judge. In his class, Onwuachi embraces the richness of Afro-Caribbean culture and cuisine, and teaches students how to cook his favorite Jamaican recipes.

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