Three easy, delicious Jamaican Easter recipes

In the Caribbean, Easter usually means the observance of Lent, a period of fasting, prayer and giving up certain temptations or distractions in your life. For others, Easter means Easter bunnies with baskets of multicolored eggs, carnival, a season of soca fetes, costume parades and parties galore. But, besides the non-stop celebrations, the things Jamaicans anticipate the most is the food. Fish is usually a staple around Easter time, so check out these mouthwatering recipes that will leave your family and friends wanting more.

Jamaican Escoveitch Fish

Nothing screams Easter like some fried fish with a peppery vinegar-based dressing drizzled on top. For food blogger Fay from cooklikeajamaican.com, Easter isn’t quite complete if this dish isn’t on the menu.

Ingredients

4 whole red snappers

Salt and pepper

1 cup cooking oil

Instructions

The day before, clean and scale fish. Season with salt and black pepper and refrigerate. Set stove to high and add cooking oil to pan. Dry fish with paper towel and pan fry for about 5 minutes each side. Take fish out of pan and place on paper towel to drain oil.

Escovitch Dressing

Ingredients

½ each, green and red bell pepper, julienned

1 carrot, julienned

1 small onion, sliced in rings

3 Tbsps. cooking oil (you can use leftover oil from frying fish)

2/3 cup vinegar

10 pimento berries (optional)

½ tsp salt

1 tsp hot pepper sauce

½ scotch bonnet pepper, seed removed and chopped

Instructions

Cut and chop vegetables and put aside. Put vinegar and oil into a saucepan and bring to a boil. Add carrots and let simmer for about a minute. Add pimento seeds, if using, salt and pepper sauce. Add red and green bell peppers a simmer for a minute. Add onion and simmer for about 5 minutes or until the onion is transparent. Add scotch bonnet pepper and stir. Place fish into serving dish and spoon dressing on top.

Fried Sprat with Hardo Bread

One of the cheaper fish on the market, sprats are very easy to prepare. Especially popular at Easter, they are usually enjoyed with warm hard dough bread lathered in butter. Food lovers club Pop-Up Gourmet (http://www.popupgourmetjamaica.com) offers their simple recipe that will serve as the perfect snack at anytime of the day.

Ingredients

1 lb. sprats scaled, gutted & cleaned

salt and pepper to taste

½ cup cooking oil

¼ cup vinegar

1 whole onion

Scotch Bonnet pepper

Instructions

Rinse sprats in water and vinegar. Pat dry & season with salt & black pepper Heat the oil in a deep frying pan or work to around 200°C (Gas Mark 6). Place sprats in frying pan and cook until lightly brown and crisp. Garnish with onion and scotch bonnet and serve hot with hard dough bread.

Steamed Fish and Crackers

Fancy’s steamed fish recipe from gracefoods.com is the perfect meal after a long day of work. Accompanied with whole crackers, after eating this tasty dish, I highly doubt you’ll have any space left for dessert.

2 cup(s) fish stock

1 cup(s) Irish potato, diced

1 cup(s) pumpkin, diced

4 medium okras, sliced

1 pound(s) whole snapper

1/4 cup(s) tomato, diced

1 teaspoon(s) black pepper

1/2 teaspoon(s) scotch bonnet pepper, chopped

1 medium onion, chopped

2 clove(s) garlic, chopped

2 stalk(s) escallion, chopped

1 sprig(s) thyme

1 whole scotch bonnet pepper

10 whole crackers

Instructions

Pour fish stock in a large skillet and bring to a boil. Add Irish potato, pumpkin and okra; cover and leave to simmer for 10 minutes. Slit fish on both sides, then stuff the cavity with half of the vegetables and seasonings (tomato, black pepper, scotch bonnet pepper, onion, garlic and escallion). Sprinkle with the remaining black pepper. Place fish into the boiling fish stock and add the remaining garlic, tomato, onion, escallion, scotch bonnet pepper, thyme and a whole scotch bonnet pepper. Spoon stock over the fish, cover and steam over medium flame for 10 minutes. To serve, place fish on platter, add crackers, then pour on fish stock.

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