Prepare the Saltfish:
Start by soaking the salted cod in cold water for at least two hours, or preferably overnight, to remove most of the salt. Change the water several times during this process. After soaking, boil the saltfish in fresh water for about 20 minutes until it’s tender. Drain, cool, and flake the fish, removing any bones and skin.
Prepare the Ackee:
If you’re using canned ackee, simply drain and rinse it under cold water. If you’re using fresh ackee, make sure it’s fully ripe (it should open naturally), remove the red tissue and the black seeds, and wash thoroughly. Boil the fresh ackee in water until it’s soft, then drain and set aside. Note: Unripe ackee can be toxic, so be careful.
Cook the Dish:
Heat the vegetable oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Add the chopped onion, bell peppers, and garlic. Sauté until they are softened and the onion is translucent, about 5 minutes.
Add the chopped Scotch bonnet pepper, diced tomatoes, thyme, and black pepper to the pan. Cook for a few more minutes until the tomatoes are softened.
Add the flaked saltfish to the pan and stir to combine with the vegetable mixture. Cook for another 5-10 minutes until the flavors are well combined.
Gently fold in the ackee. Be careful not to stir too vigorously as the ackee is very delicate and can easily break apart. Cook for another 5 minutes until the ackee is heated through.
Sprinkle with sliced spring onions (scallions) and serve.
Ackee and Saltfish is traditionally served with boiled green bananas, fried dumplings, or breadfruit. However, it also pairs well with rice or toast. Enjoy your authentic Jamaican meal!
Remember: Always be careful when handling raw ingredients and ensure everything is cooked properly to avoid foodborne illnesses.
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