The ocean waves crashing against the sand, crickets chirping in the background and a full moon provides the illumination. Somewhere in the distance sounds of beats mixed with the jumpy guitar drifts in and out with the breeze...hhhmmm.....Bob Marley! A warm night with occasional briny cool sea winds bring in some welcome relief from the heat. Standing under a palm tree one feels at one with the place, the people and the beauty.
Yes, we all want to be in this place, I know I do! (Especially with all 2020 had to offer). It's what I imagine a wonderful night would be like in Jamaica. I've never been but hope to one day. Sampling the cuisine will be on the top of the list, of course, along with experiencing the culture and people. Since food is always priority in my world, my list includes the traditional ackee and salt fish, coco bread and so many other but most definitely jerk chicken. That is a dish we all have heard of. Aside from reggae, Jamaican rum and Usain Bolt, I would say Jerk chicken isn't too far behind (yes pun intended!) in naming Jamaican exports.
Any decent Jerk chicken begins with a good jerk seasoning. The main ingredient of this blend is the almighty allspice berry also known as Jamaica pepper. It is used for sweet dishes in some countries but used as a savory application in Jamaica. Jerk seasoning is one that is so highly complex with a mix of herbaceous, peppery and sweet notes. A well balanced seasoning will give you a little bit of it all and leave you wanting for more. However jerk seasoning hasn't found its spotlight in the condiment section as everyone associates it with chicken or extreme heat. Yet with little creativity and imagination it can be used in a variety of ways.
Recently to highlight this lovely blend I made a jerk pineapple salsa to sample. To my delight several people enjoyed it and wanted to make the salsa themselves. So here it is the recipe (as promised to some) for a Jerk Pineapple Salsa for those heat lovers, midnight snackers and family get togethers.
Jerk Pineapple Salsa
Yield: 8 oz
Time: 30 mins
1/2 fresh pineapple, small diced or 1 can pineapple bits with juice
1/2 white onion, small diced
1/4 red bell pepper, small dice
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons sugar (use 1 teaspoon sugar if using canned pineapple)
1 teaspoon One Good Knife Jerk Seasoning
1 tablespoon avocado oil or canola oil
Place all ingredients in a pot.
Cook on a low-medium heat with the lid for 20 mins
For the last 10 mins allow the excess moisture to evaporate by uncovering pot.
Reduce till traces of all liquid has gone.
Allow to cool.
Blend in a small food processor into a chunky salsa texture. Or alternatively use a fork to crush.
Enjoy with tortilla chips, on top pan seared fish, as a burger topping or in a chicken sandwich.