Ackee and saltfish
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The ackee fruit was imported to Jamaica from West Africa (probably on a slave ship) before 1778. It is also known as Blighia sapida. The scientific name honours Captain William Bligh who took the fruit from Jamaica to the Royal Botanic Gardens in Kew, England in 1793 and introduced it to science. Because parts of the fruit are toxic, there are shipping restrictions when being imported to countries such as the United States.
To prepare the dish, salt cod (packet salt fish may need to be boiled down and should be free of 'pink' mould) is sautéed with boiled ackee, onions, Scotch Bonnet peppers (optional), tomatoes, and spices, such as black pepper and pimiento. It can be garnished with crisp bacon and fresh tomatoes, and is usually served as breakfast or dinner alongside breadfruit, hard dough bread, dumplings, fried plantain, or boiled green bananas.
Ackee and salt can also be eaten with rice and peas or plain white rice. When ackee and salt is combined with plain rice it is often called seasoned rice which is a delicious one pot meal that is usually eaten on Fridays as an inexpensive meal for dinner.
In the United Kingdom, Canada and the United States, "ackee and saltfish" is eaten widely, although canned ackee is more often used than fresh in some foreign countries. However, people from countries where the fruit is indigenous prefer to eat fresh ackee from the pod as opposed to ackee from a tin. Fresh ackee, if prepared improperly, can be dangerous.
This dish is usually eaten on Sundays in Jamaica, but it can be eaten on any day of the week.
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