Ackee and Salt Fish Recipe - A French Delicacy

Ackee and Salt Fish

Ackee and Salt Fish Recipe - A French Delicacy
Region / culture: France | Preparation time: 30 minutes | Cooking time: 30 minutes | Servings: 4


Ackee and Salt Fish
Ackee and Salt Fish

Ackee and Salt Fish is a traditional Jamaican dish that has won the hearts of many around the globe. This dish combines the unique flavors of ackee, a fruit native to West Africa that has become a staple in Jamaican cuisine, with the saltiness of dried and salted cod. The result is a savory, hearty meal that is often considered Jamaica's national dish. This recipe also incorporates bacon, onions, and sweet peppers, adding layers of flavor that make it a rich and satisfying dish.


The history of Ackee and Salt Fish dates back to the 18th century when enslaved Africans were brought to Jamaica. Ackee, originally from West Africa, was introduced to the Caribbean, while salt fish was imported from North America and became a staple food due to its long shelf life. Over time, these two ingredients were combined, creating what is now known as Ackee and Salt Fish. This dish not only represents a significant part of Jamaican heritage but also tells a story of cultural fusion and survival.


How to prepare

  1. Place salt fish in water and boil. Remove pods, seeds, and centers from ackees. Tie in a muslin bag and add to the boiling fish. Let it cook for 15 minutes.
  2. Drain the water. Remove the skin and bones from the fish. Fry the bacon and keep it hot. Sauté onion and pepper in the bacon fat, then drain and keep hot with the bacon.
  3. In the same pan, heat the oil or butter and add the fish and ackee. Heat it through. Turn onto a heated dish and garnish with onions, pepper, and bacon.
  4. Serve hot with plenty of pepper.


  • For a vegetarian version, omit the salt fish and bacon and add sautéed mushrooms or tofu. You can also experiment with different types of peppers or add other vegetables like tomatoes or spinach for added flavor and nutrition.
  • There are several ways to vary the traditional Ackee and Salt Fish recipe:
  • Substitute the salt fish with smoked herring or mackerel for a different flavor.
  • Add tomatoes or scotch bonnet peppers for extra color and heat.
  • Vegetarians can replace the fish with tofu or mushrooms for a meat-free version.

Cooking Tips & Tricks

To ensure the best flavor and texture for your Ackee and Salt Fish, consider the following tips:

- Soak the salt fish overnight to reduce its saltiness.

- Be gentle when mixing the ackee with the fish to avoid breaking the ackee into mush.

- Use fresh ackees if available, but canned ackees can be a good substitute.

- Fry the bacon until crispy for added texture.

- Adjust the amount of pepper based on your preference for spice.

Serving Suggestions

Ackee and Salt Fish is traditionally served with boiled green bananas, fried dumplings, or rice. These sides complement the flavors of the dish and make for a filling meal.

Cooking Techniques

The key techniques in preparing Ackee and Salt Fish involve boiling, sautéing, and gentle mixing. Boiling the salt fish helps to reduce its saltiness, while sautéing the bacon, onions, and peppers adds depth to the flavor. Gently mixing the ackee with the other ingredients ensures the ackee remains intact.

Ingredient Substitutions

If certain ingredients are unavailable, consider the following substitutions:

- Canned ackee can replace fresh ackee.

- Any mild-flavored fish can substitute for salt fish.

- Olive oil or coconut oil can be used instead of butter for a healthier option.

Make Ahead Tips

To save time, the salt fish can be soaked overnight, and the bacon, onions, and peppers can be prepped in advance. However, it's best to cook the ackee and assemble the dish just before serving to maintain the best texture and flavor.

Presentation Ideas

Serve Ackee and Salt Fish on a warm platter, garnished with slices of avocado and fresh herbs for a touch of color and freshness. A side of colorful vegetables or a simple salad can also enhance the presentation.

Pairing Recommendations

Ackee and Salt Fish pairs well with light, crisp white wines such as Sauvignon Blanc or a dry Riesling. For non-alcoholic options, coconut water or a tangy limeade complements the dish's flavors.

Storage and Reheating Instructions

Leftover Ackee and Salt Fish can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to two days. Reheat gently on the stove or in the microwave, adding a little water or oil to prevent drying out.

Nutrition Information

Calories per serving

A typical serving of Ackee and Salt Fish contains approximately 300 to 400 calories, making it a relatively low-calorie option for a main meal. The exact calorie count can vary based on the amounts of bacon and butter used.


A serving of Ackee and Salt Fish is relatively low in carbohydrates. Ackee itself contains about 9 grams of carbohydrates per 100 grams, while the other ingredients contribute minimal amounts. The total carbohydrate content will largely depend on what you serve with the dish, such as rice or bread.


This dish contains a moderate amount of fat, primarily from the bacon and butter used in cooking. Ackee is low in fat, but the addition of bacon and butter can increase the total fat content. Using less butter or substituting it with a healthier oil can reduce the overall fat content.


Ackee and Salt Fish is a good source of protein, thanks to the salt fish and bacon. Salt fish is particularly high in protein, providing about 18 grams per 100 grams. This makes the dish a satisfying option for a meal that supports muscle growth and repair.

Vitamins and minerals

Ackee is rich in vitamins and minerals, including vitamin C, potassium, and niacin. Salt fish also contributes to the dish's nutritional value with its high content of omega-3 fatty acids, phosphorus, and vitamin B12. Together, these ingredients make Ackee and Salt Fish a nutritious choice.


The main allergens to be aware of in this dish are fish and possibly dairy (from the butter). Individuals with allergies to these ingredients should exercise caution.


Overall, Ackee and Salt Fish is a nutritious dish that offers a good balance of proteins, fats, and vitamins. It is relatively low in carbohydrates and calories, making it a healthy option for those monitoring their intake.


Ackee and Salt Fish is a flavorful, nutritious dish that embodies the rich cultural heritage of Jamaica. With its combination of savory salt fish, creamy ackee, and crispy bacon, it offers a unique taste experience. By following the tips and variations provided, you can enjoy this traditional dish in a way that suits your taste and dietary needs.

How did I get this recipe?

It feels like just yesterday when I stumbled upon this recipe for Ackee and Salt Fish. I remember it so vividly, as if it happened just this morning. It was a warm summer day, the sun shining brightly through my kitchen window as I rummaged through my collection of cookbooks, looking for something new to try. I had always been passionate about cooking, always eager to learn new recipes and techniques. And that day, I was in the mood for something different, something exotic.

As I flipped through the pages of one of my favorite cookbooks, I came across a recipe for Ackee and Salt Fish. I had never heard of it before, but the description intrigued me. The combination of salted cod fish and ackee, a fruit native to Jamaica, seemed like an interesting and delicious pairing. I knew I had to give it a try.

I read through the recipe carefully, taking note of each ingredient and step. It seemed like a simple enough dish to make, but the flavors were complex and unique. I was excited to test it out and see how it would turn out.

I went to the market later that day to gather all the necessary ingredients. I purchased a fresh ackee fruit, some salted cod fish, onions, peppers, and other seasonings. As I walked through the aisles, I couldn't help but feel a sense of anticipation. I was about to embark on a culinary adventure, and I couldn't wait to see where it would take me.

When I got home, I wasted no time in getting started. I soaked the salted cod fish in water to remove some of the saltiness, then boiled it until it was tender. Meanwhile, I sautéed the onions and peppers in a skillet until they were soft and fragrant. The aroma that filled my kitchen was intoxicating, a tantalizing blend of spices and herbs.

Once the fish was cooked, I flaked it into bite-sized pieces and added it to the skillet with the vegetables. I then carefully peeled and seeded the ackee fruit, being sure not to break the delicate flesh. I gently folded the ackee into the mixture, being careful not to mash it.

As the dish cooked, the flavors melded together, creating a symphony of tastes and textures. The ackee fruit added a creamy richness to the dish, while the salted cod provided a savory depth. The onions and peppers added a touch of sweetness and heat, rounding out the flavors perfectly.

When the dish was finally done, I couldn't wait to dig in. I served myself a generous portion and took my first bite. The flavors exploded in my mouth, each one distinct and delicious. The ackee was silky and smooth, the fish tender and flavorful. It was unlike anything I had ever tasted before, a true culinary revelation.

I shared the dish with my family that evening, and they were equally impressed. They couldn't believe that I had created such a flavorful and exotic dish. They raved about it, asking for the recipe and begging me to make it again.

And so, Ackee and Salt Fish became a staple in my kitchen. I made it regularly, tweaking the recipe here and there to suit my taste. I experimented with different seasonings and techniques, always striving to perfect the dish.

Over the years, I shared the recipe with friends and family, passing down my knowledge and love for cooking. I taught my grandchildren how to make Ackee and Salt Fish, passing on the tradition to the next generation. And now, whenever I make the dish, I am reminded of that warm summer day when I stumbled upon the recipe that would become a cherished favorite in my kitchen.

Ackee and Salt Fish will always hold a special place in my heart, a reminder of the joy and passion that cooking brings me. It is a dish that is more than just food—it is a symbol of tradition, love, and the joy of sharing a delicious meal with the ones you hold dear. And for that, I am forever grateful.


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