The first time I had Bake and Saltfish was at the El Dorado Inn where I stayed during my first ten days in Guyana. The bake had been freshly made that morning and the fish was just perfect - served with a glass of cherry juice and fresh fruit, it was a great way to start the day! I have had it again since then, but probably one of the most memorable times was sharing it with my family during Boxing Day brunch at Mrs Boodie's! I haven't tried this receipe, but it looks pretty easy and the ingredients look right. Mom?
Saltfish, once a staple in the West Indian diet, is salted, dried codfish, imported from Canada (traditionally Newfoundland), historically as standard food for slaves. My understanding is that Newfoundland Screech (aka Jamaican rum) was acquired through this kind of transaction. A conversation with the Minister of Health assured me that those the saltfish is not necessarily cod anymore or from Canada - Canadian cod makes the best saltfish!!
You can eat the two separately or put the saltfish in the bake like a sandwich. Enjoy for breakfast or brunch - or anytime of day!!
Fried bake (serves 8)
4 cups flour
1½ teaspoon salt
4 teaspoons baking powder
about 2 cups water
1 cup oil for deep frying
Sift flour, salt, and baking powder. Add enough water to make a soft dough. Knead for about ten minutes then let rest for half an hour or more
Cut in pieces and roll each piece five to six inches in diameter and ¼ inch thick. Fry in hot oil, turn once, and fry until brown. Drain on kitchen paper.
Saltfish (serves six)
½ pound saltfish
1 tablespoon olive oil
½ pound tomatoes, chopped
a few drops of lime juice
½ cup sliced onion
about 1 teaspoon minced garlic
2 tablespoons chopped chive
1 teaspoon thyme
½ teaspoon chopped hot pepper
pieces of avocado (optional)
coriander/cilantro/chadon beni (pronounced “shadow benny”) to taste (optional)
Break fish in pieces and boil for ten to 15 minutes. Drain. This is to remove the salt: skip this step and you mash up (screw up) the whole dish. Remove skin and bones from fish and break into pieces.
Fry fish in hot oil for about four to five minutes. Add tomatoes, lime juice, onion, garlic, chive, thyme, hot pepper, and optional ingredients; cook for ten minutes.
Serve warm with bake or white rice. To eat the saltfish with the bake, open the bake as you would pita bread, fill it with saltfish, and enjoy.
Don’t fry the fish, since it is cooked when it is boiled. Do not cook the vegetables with the cod-fish. The result looks similar to bruschetta, for lack of a better description. It can be served chilled with bake.