Ackee and saltfish
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Ackee and saltfish is a traditional Jamaican dish.
The ackee fruit was imported to The Caribbean from Ghana before 1725, as Ackee or Aki is another name for the Akan tribe, Akyem. 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 (salt fish should be soaked overnight to eliminate most of the salt) is sautéed with boiled ackee, onions, Scotch Bonnet peppers (optional), tomatoes, and spices, such as black pepper and pimiento. It can be garnished with bacon and tomatoes, and is usually served as breakfast or dinner alongside breadfruit, hard dough bread, dumplings, fried plantain, or boiled green bananas.
Ackee and saltfish can also be eaten with rice and peas or plain white rice. When seasonings (onion, escallion, thyme, garlic) and saltfish are combined with plain rice it is often called seasoned rice which is a one pot meal that is usually eaten on Fridays as an inexpensive meal for dinner.
How is Ackee and Saltfish Prepared
Ackee pods are ready to be picked from the tree once the pods start to open. This is due to the fact that the un-open pods are toxic and can lead to death. The fruits are then extracted from the open pods and the pods discarded. The fruits are then deseeded and cleaned. The fruits are now ready to be added to a pot of boiling water appropriate in size to the amount of ackee to be cooked. Salt may or may not be added to the water depending on the dish being prepared. For example, if ackee and saltfish is the desired meal, then salt is not added as the salt fish contains sufficient salt. The ackee is cooked for 15 - 20 minutes, or until ackee is tender.