Fish and chips with a twist: Saint Vincentian roasted breadfruit and fried jackfish

Today we return to the Caribbean, to Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, an island nation home to the filming of Pirates of the Caribbean and, for a time, Mick Jagger. Store that little titbit up for a future episode of University Challenge.

As you can see from its national dish, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines is also home to the breadfruit, which is possibly the world’s largest and most expensive vegetable. At £7 each (‘What?! Imagine how many potatoes you could buy for £7!’ exclaimed Ash), it’s a good thing they’re nice! To serve two, this dish doesn’t use anywhere near a whole one (in fact, we only used a quarter, and that was with quite generous portions), but apparently they are best when roasted whole, so roast it whole we did. That means that we now have three-quarters of a breadfruit to use up, so if you have any suggestions, please comment below…

To make roasted breadfruit and fried jackfish, we started with a recipe from The Caribbean Current, but also consulted some others and tweaked it slightly. Our version is as follows:

Roasted breadfruit and fried jackfish

Ingredients
1 breadfruit

For the fish:
1 good-sized jackfish (trevally), filleted
Juice of 1 lemon
Enough flour to coat the fish fillets
A good pinch each of garlic powder, onion powder, dried thyme, dried chives, salt and pepper
Oil for frying

For the sauce:
1 tbsp oil
1 medium onion, chopped fairly finely
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1 sprig thyme (leaves only)
1 medium ripe tomato, sliced
12g butter
1 tsp tomato puree
1 cup water
Salt and pepper

Method
1. First, begin roasting the breadfruit. If you have a fire at your disposal, throw it on the coals, but if like most of us you’re cooking in a domestic kitchen, pierce it all over with a skewer, rub it with a little oil, wrap it in foil and bake it at 200C for around an hour and a half (depending on the size of the breadfruit). It will be ready when you can easily stick a skewer or knife through it and have it come out clean.
2. After it’s been in the oven for about an hour, start preparing the fish by pouring the lemon juice over the fillets and leaving it to marinate for 15 minutes.
3. While the fish is marinating, make the sauce: fry off the onion, garlic, thyme and tomato until softened. Add the butter and stir until melted. Add the rest of the ingredients and simmer until thickened.
4. Once the fish is marinated, mix all the seasonings into the flour, and rinse and pat dry the fish. Coat it on both sides with the flour mixture, removing any excess.
5. Heat the oil in a frying pan over medium heat until very hot but not smoking.
6. Fry the fish for approximately 4 minutes on each side until golden brown.
7. Peel, core and slice the breadfruit and serve with the fish and sauce (and, if preferred, a small salad).
Serves 2 (with plenty of leftover breadfruit)

929a Sauce for jackfish compressed

931a Frying fish compressed

932a Fried fish compressed

930a Roasted breadfruit compressed

933a Roasted breadfruit and fried jackfish compressed

Aside from the shock of spending £7 on one breadfruit, we enjoyed this different take on fish and chips. We’d never bought (or eaten, we don’t think) jackfish before, and were pleased with its firmness, flavour and potential versatility. We frequently have conversations about how we should eat more fish, but our default positions are usually either meat or vegetarian – fish requires some more forethought and planning. However, now that we know that jackfish is a good fish that’s readily (and fairly economically) available, we may buy it more often.

We wrote about the new experience of breadfruit a couple of entries ago (Grenada), but once again we enjoyed the novelty of something that essentially looks and feels like potato but tastes like a sort of custardy bread. We’re looking forward to eating it in other ways in order to use the rest of it up (whilst also slightly apprehensive about the task)!

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