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Ackee and Saltfish

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Ackee and saltfish is Jamaica’s national dish. It’s typically served for breakfast on the weekends but can be eaten any time of the day. This recipe is a staple in the Caribbean kitchen. 

ackee and saltfish in white plate

Jamaican ackee and saltfish is a staple dish that’s pretty easy to make. My grandmother had an ackee tree and I recall her picking the ripe ackee, removing the seed, boiling the ackee, and cooking it for the family.

Those were the good ol’ days when I had access to fresh ackee but canned ackee does just as well in this dish. It comes in handy when I want to make this ackee and saltfish recipe.

How to make Ackee and Saltfish

First, prepare the saltfish by either soaking it in water overnight, draining it, and then boiling it once, and then draining it again. You can skip the overnight soak and just boil and drain the salted fish 2-3 times until the excess salt is removed.

Break the saltfish into small pieces and set it aside. 

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onions, scallions, and scotch bonnet peppers to the skillet and saute for 3-4 minutes, until the onions have softened. Then add salted fish and stir for an additional minute. 

Add the roma tomatoes and drained ackee and cook for 3-4 minutes, gently stirring to not break up the ackee. Season with black pepper. 

finished ackee and saltfish in skillet

Serve and enjoy.

Frequently Asked Questions about Jamaican Ackee and Saltfish

What is ackee?

Ackee is the national fruit of Jamaica and grows on trees. It’s usually served as part of Jamaica’s national dish, ackee and saltfish, although there are other uses for the tropical fruit. You won’t have much success finding fresh ackee in the United States as the importation of fresh ackee is banned due to the fact that fresh ackee can be poisonous if not prepared properly.

You can find canned or frozen ackee at your international market or online. ackee in a white bowl

What does ackee taste like?

Ackee has its own distinct flavor and texture. Once cooked, it becomes soft and creamy-like. It’s mild in flavor and it’s not sweet.

What is saltfish?

Saltfish is any fish that is dried and salted to preserve it. The saltfish used in this recipe is salted codfish and can be found in many international grocery stores. I prefer to buy the boned codfish to avoid picking out any bones in the fish.

What to eat ackee and saltfish with?

To make this a full breakfast, you can eat ackee and saltfish with roasted breadfruit, fried dumplings, boiled dumplings and green banana, or bread.

And there you have it, delicious ackee and saltfish. If you’re looking for more Caribbean recipes, check these out:

Ackee and Saltfish

Ackee and saltfish is Jamaica’s national dish. It’s typically served for breakfast on the weekends but can be eaten any time of the day. This recipe is a staple in the Caribbean kitchen. 
Course Breakfast
Cuisine Caribbean
Keyword ackee and saltfish
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Servings 4 people
Calories 405kcal
Author Tanya

Ingredients

  • 8 oz salted cod fish boned
  • 2 Tbsp canola oil
  • 1 yellow onion chopped
  • 2 green scallions chopped
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme stems removed
  • 1 scotch bonnet pepper seeds removed and chopped (optional)
  • 1 roma tomato chopped
  • 15 oz can ackee drained
  • ½ tsp black pepper or to taste

Instructions

  • First, prepare your saltfish by either soaking it in water overnight, draining it, and then boiling it once, and then draining it again. You can also skip the overnight soak and boil and drain the salted fish 2-3 times until the excess salt is removed. Once the saltfish has been boiled and drained, break the saltfish into small pieces. Set aside.
  • Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onions, scallions, scotch bonnet to skillet and sauté for 3-4 minutes, until onions have softened. Add salted fish and stir for an additional minute.
  • Add roma tomato and ackee and cook for 3-4 minutes until heated through. Season with black pepper.
  • Serve and enjoy.

Notes

  • This recipe calls for canned ackee, which is already cooked and can be found in most international grocery stores or online. If using fresh ackee, it will need to be prepared properly by boiling the ackee.
  • If you can’t file salted codfish, use cooked cod or tilapia and season the dish with salt. 

Nutrition

Calories: 405kcal
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