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Ackee and Saltfish recipe

Are you unable to get away from the cold? Try this recipe, while imagining yourself sitting seaside under an island cabana enjoying Caribbean food.
Ackee and Saltfish | Recipe | Michele Bogle
Ackee and Saltfish | Recipe | Michele Bogle

Ackee and saltfish is a tasty alternative to your bacon and egg regimen. Though a fruit, ackee presents itself as scrambled egg, with the same consistency and flavour. 

Are you unable to get away from the cold? Try this recipe, while imagining yourself sitting seaside under an island cabana enjoying Caribbean food. 

Deeply symbolic in their country’s history and culture, neither ackee nor saltfish is indigenous to Jamaica.

Blighia Sapida, named after Royal Navy Captain William Bligh, who is associated with many historical events, was responsible for bringing the fruit from West Africa to Jamaica in 1793.

Ackee has long since become the island’s national fruit. During the 1700’s, European nations began salting cod to preserve the fish for export to destinations such as the Caribbean. The combination of the two soon became Jamaica's favourite staple.

As salting fish is an unnecessary measure today, any mild fresh, or frozen fish can be used in its stead. This recipe is made with pollock. 

Ackee and saltfish is traditionally served with any combination of dumplings, breadfruit, fried plantain, and callaloo. Spinach is similar to callaloo, an acceptable substitute due to the availability of the plant. This recipe includes sautéed spinach and fried plantain.

Note: I like to substitute a scotch bonnet pepper with hot sauce in order to better control the heat.

Ackee and Saltfish Recipe

Recipe by Michele Bogle

PREPARATION TIME: 30 minutes        YIELDS: 4 to 6 servings


2 large skillets, medium-sized saucepan, paring knife, cutting board, heat-resistant spatula, measuring cup, measuring spoon, can opener


Fried Plantain -

2 ripe plantains, sliced

½ tsp salt

2 Tbsp olive oil

Ackee and Saltfish -

2-540 gram cans ackee, drained

2 fillets pollock, chopped

453 gram package low sodium bacon, chopped

3 scallions, chopped

1 large yellow onion, chopped

3 garlic cloves, minced

1 Tbsp dried thyme

2 to 3 Tbsp hot sauce

1 cup cherry tomatoes, each sliced in thirds

1 Tbsp cumin

2 Tbsp paprika

1 Tbsp cayenne

2 tsp ground black pepper

Spinach -

4 cups spinach, chopped

1 Tbsp olive oil

1 shallot, chopped

2 garlic cloves, minced

¼ tsp salt

¼ tsp ground black pepper


Fried Plantain 

Step 1

Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet on medium high. Carefully lie the slices of plantain side-by-side in the hot oil. Lightly season with ½ teaspoon of salt. Fry the pieces for 3 to 4 minutes, or until golden brown.

Turn them over and fry the plantain for another 3 to 4 minutes. Lower the heat if the pieces darken too quickly.

Ackee and saltfish

Step 1

On medium-high heat brown the bacon pieces. Using a heat-resistant spatula, continually move the pieces of bacon to avoid clumping. Cook for 5 minutes.

Step 2

Use the excess oil from bacon in the skillet to sauté the onions, scallions, and 3 minced garlic cloves. 

Step 3

Lower the heat to medium and add in the thyme, cumin, paprika, cayenne, hot sauce, and 2 teaspoons of ground black pepper.

Step 4

Stir in the tomatoes, and fish pieces. Cover and allow to cook for 5 minutes. Adjust to taste.

Step 5

Reduce the heat to a simmer and gently incorporate the ackee into the mix. Stir in only once as the integrity of the pieces easily collapse when overmixed, leaving a mushy consistency. Cover on a low simmer while preparing the spinach.


Step 1

Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a saucepan, and add the shallot with 2 minced garlic cloves. Stir on medium heat for 3 minutes.

Step 2

Add in the spinach, a ¼ teaspoon of salt, and a ¼ teaspoon of ground black pepper. Allow the spinach to wilt. Remove from heat and continue stirring the mixture for another minute.

Plate and serve!