Did Kevon tell you it is poisonous?
What is poisonous? The Ackee you are eating, said Evelyn.
I was about to enjoy another bite of my Ackee salad sitting in front of me in a beautiful ceramic bowl and sparkling in the perfect olive oil and balsamic vinegar dressing. As my fork remained frozen, suspended between the white linen-clad table and my mouth my mind went into overdrive. What am I going to do? As a priority measure, swallow hard and smile.
Pretending I have this covered, there is nothing to worry about.
Of course, I could not resist asking. So I asked Kevon what do you mean poisonous?
From Kevon’s facial expression it was pretty clear this was not the first time the subject matter came up with a guest. Well, not really he said with that island smile.
Not really? But still a little? What do you mean?
And then he explained. Ackee is part of Jamaica’s national dish, Ackee and Saltfish with Johnny Cakes or roasted breadfruit. The fruit, that is prepared like a vegetable grows on a beautiful medium-sized tree.
The trees at Calabash Cove will produce 2 harvests every year. And Chef Thierry always has an eye on them.
The fruit initially green, will turn a bright pink just before it is ripe. Pink you may say, screaming “don’t eat me I am poisonous”. At the last stage of the ripening process, the pink shell will open up in 3 wings, exposing the actual yellow fruit. This yellow fruit is removed, while carefully taking out a pink vein. It is then poached in saltwater. This will render the fruit save to eat.
Some lovers of Ackee will sauté it right away in large quantities of oil, onions and saltfish.
This particular Calabash Cove dish calls for the Ackee to be cooled off before being mixed with kale, lettuce, tomatoes, carrots, olives or other fresh garden vegetables like smoked pumpkin or zucchini.
But Kevon, what happens if the Ackee is not boiled properly?
Well, that could be a whole different story………..