This week dear readers, I come to you with an amuse-bouche. Of sorts. A figurative and literal one.
Figurative because all I can give you are little nibbles of stories to come because alas, at the most inopportune time (as they always are yes?) my camera has broken down and I am on a quest to retrieve the photos. And literal because I will share with you a recipe I made for our bonfire adapted from an old Bajan grandfather.
So, as part two of my Bajan adventures, I come to you (once camera back in action, pray for me) with promises of stories of tropical forest paths with coral steps leading down to a Robinson Caruso’esque beach with immense coral cliffs and big rolling waves (I have a rant to go with this one which I can’t wait to share with you). Of Rasta’s and solitary bonfires in caves with the grill carved in the sand that roasted fish as we drank rum and listened to the waves crashing.
Of picking up a chef (who just happened to be the owner of one of Barbados best rated Zagat restaurant’s, total fluke!) at the local fish market and trying to negotiate for his fish but hesitantly winding up at his restaurant instead, to one of the most magnificent Bajan meals you can imagine. Of little, black hummingbirds who suckle every morning on the most fertile plants I have ever seen (it loses all its flowers every afternoon and every morning it is in full bloom).
Of roadside, church parking lot spareribs.
Of exquisite, hot, crunchy, golden flying fish fingers. Heaven.
Of brilliant Ambassadors and glorious Tuscans (and us of course) on the coral sand beach, sipping homemade rum punch while discussing Asian crepes, ancient water mills, lemon trees and where to obtain fresh, unpasteurized goats milk for making cheese (I did it and failed miserably but it was divine) and more typical food obsessed beach conversation.
And of course, of the kind and wonderful people that make Barbados such a unique place to visit.
Now, onto the literal one.
Bajan Grandfather's Salt Fish Cakes ala dish …
What you need:
- 2 tablespoons of melted butter (plus extra for sautéing the onions)
- 1 small onion finely minced
- 1 cup flour (plus extra to adjust batter consistency)
- Salt and pepper to your taste (if you can find Caribbean black pepper, do it)
- ¼ cup finely diced fresh green pepper
- 2 tablespoons of chopped chives
- 2 tablespoons of Bajan hot sauce
- 1 ounce of dark rum
- 2 eggs lightly beaten
- ½ cup milk
- ½ cup old cheddar cubed into ¼” cubes
- ¼ cup mozzarella cubed as the old cheddar
- 2 cups saltfish, boiled 3 times and flaked
- Peanut oil for frying
How to make them:
- In a heavy frying pan, sauté the onions in butter until they are translucent an luscious (you’ll know).
- Place flour in a big bowl and make a well in center. Pour in eggs, butter and milk.
- Mix together lightly and then add the onions and all other ingredients to the bowl and stir gently until a beautiful batter forms. The consistency should be something between cookie dough and muffin batter.
- Once done, drop tablespoon by glorious tablespoon full into the hot oil. Please give them space and do not crowd them in. Fry until they are a beautiful golden color.
- Serve hot hot hot! (for the extra heat loving peeps out there, mix mayonnaise with some of the Bajan hot sauce, add a squirt of fresh lime juice and dip on in)
Until we meet again ...