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Saltfish and Tomato ....#028
August 31, 2006

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Saltfish and Tomato

Back in the day when things were simple and you had to make do with what you have, people used to come up with all sorts of little treats and the like.

The pastor, teacher, next-door neighbor, you never know who will surprise you with some home- made delights. And, even though things were so called “tough as rock” back then, there were few complaints about having different food varieties. You had to ‘mek yu ‘han ‘tun fashion’ as we would say. In other words, use what you have available or stay bored.

Everything, today, is so conveniently pre-packaged and sold in all sorts of synthetic wrappers that the true essence of our nicety culture is slowly dwindling away to modern living standards.

To put it plain and simple, we have lost some of our creativity with the little treats that we used to enjoy on certain occasions.

In a sense, this is not very bad, because I do embrace modern living and progress. If we do not adapt we will surely become relics….Yah Mon!

Well in Jamaica, evenings are a special time for our people, especially men. The sun is down, there is the cool sea breeze and everybody is Irie! Anything can happen.

But Jamaican men usually gather at the local grocery or corner bar for the rest of the evening to play dominoes, drink a few beers and leisurely past the evening. These corner bars or grocery that we call ‘corners’ is always in your neighborhood or close to it.

On the ‘corners’ where everybody is on a first name basis, a few unwritten rules are noticed and obeyed. Such as, have as much fun without your gun, make as much noise but hurt no one, and drink to your elevation. They may not say it in those words, but you should get the picture by now.

Another unwritten marketing rule for the shopkeeper is treating your customers with food...mostly snacks… after they have had some amount of alcohol in their system.

One snack that made me keep coming back to the ‘corners’ is the Saltfish and Tomato with water crackers. This is not primarily a bar snack, but sometimes the same ‘ol same ‘ol like Dried Shrimp and Crackers, Peanuts, or plain cheddar cheese with beer is overbearing. So, a little different treat is always welcome.

Remember, the next time you have some guest over for a get together, let them try this Saltfish and Tomato treat…Seen?

Saltfish and Tomato

¼ lb. Boneless Salted Cod (Baccaloa)

4 large Ripe Tomatoes. 1 tbsp. Cooking Oil

1 tsp. Black Pepper

1 pk. Excelsior Water Crackers

Soak the saltfish in a pot of cold water for about three hours. In the meantime, slice the tomatoes into small slices, or dice them if you prefer.

Remove the saltfish from the pot. Pinch a little piece of the salt fish and taste to see if enough salt is gone from the fish. The saltfish should still be a little salty. If not then you will have to add salt to the fish again. It is a judgment call.

Put the saltfish in a large bowl and then crush the saltfish with your fingers. Add the oil, tomatoes, and black pepper to the bowl. Cover the bowl and shake back and forth to mix the ingredients…about a minute is enough.

Serve the saltfish and tomato mix on the water crackers.

PS: You could boil the salt fish too, instead of soaking it that will speed up the preparation time.

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