Christmas Eve in Jamaica is a busy old time catching up with family, last minute gift shopping, making of the first batch of sorrel rum punch, carol singing and for most a visit to church for a traditional Christmas Eve Mass. The average temperature over Christmas in Jamaica is a balmy 75-83 F or 23-28 C which is why we like to celebrate on the 24th December with slightly lighter dishes that make the most of Jamaica’s national dish, Saltfish. We think it’s not just a bit lighter in the sense of time preparation whilst we get ready for the Christmas Day feast, but more importantly it doesn’t weigh you down if you decide to pop down to the beach after lunch.
Recipe Suggestion for Salt Fish Starter
Salt Fish Salad
400 g Saltfish (soaked before in water) 200 g crayfish tails shelled and clean ½ head of Kos lettuce, cleaned and thinly sliced
4 Tomatoes cored and cut into strips
Virgin Olive Oil for frying
Salt and White Pepper from a grinder
Vinegar with herbs:
One bunch of mixed herbs; eg. Basil, Parsley, Dill, Chives, etc.
2 tbs Sherry Vinaigrette
1dl Virgin olive oil
1 tsp Maple Syrup
Salt and white pepper from a grinder
Put a generous amount of water in a pot. When the water boils put the pieces of salted cod in and boil for approximately 4-6 minutes depending on the thickness and size of the pieces. Then take them out and chill immediately in ice-cold water, then they will come apart in flakes.
Fry the langoustine tails in the olive oil in a frying pan, sprinkle with salt and pepper. Chill.
Put two tablespoons of the garlic sauce in the middle of a plate and the finely sliced lettuce on top. Arrange the salted cod flakes around the salad.
Arrange a few langoustine tails around the salted cod and place the tomato strips in between.
Put the mixed herbs into a food mixer, finely grind and mix the olive oil and maple syrup into it. Add salt and pepper to taste. With a spoon, put the vinaigrette tastefully over the langoustine tails, tomatoes and slightly into the lettuce.
Serve as a starter on a plate or as part of a buffet on a bigger plate.