Saltfish and ground provision
My first time eating salted fish (or also called salt fish or salt cod/pollock) was in a Portuguese dish with salted cod which i think is called Bacalhau com Natas. It was like very creamy scalloped potatoes with salted fish stewed into it. It was so delicious and when I went to Portugal that’s all I wanted. I loved trying it prepared different ways. And I have a version of my own of that dish that I make and will share another time.
This Trini dish is tops as well. I love this and Buljol which is another salted cod or pollock recipe that I love to make and eat and will share soon.
The salt fish is stewed down with some fragrant herbs, tomato and pimento peppers and onions and lots of garlic, and then served with ground provision.
The stewed fish is the star of this dish and the provision is the perfect side that complements it really well
Ground provision is the term used by West Indian’s to describe a number of traditional vegetable and fruit staples that are planted in the ground, such as yams and cassava, sweet potatoes etc…The provision are cooked and served as a side dish to this stewed salted fish. I love to eat it with green fig or literally green banana or a banana variety that does not ripen and cannot be eaten just off the tree just like plantain. It requires being cooked before eaten. Most commonly the ground provision is boiled not roasted. I actually love and prefer it that way with this dish. The stewed fish is the star of this dish and the provision is the perfect side that complements it really well. It doesn’t come in with its own seasoning and flavours that would compete or distract from the salted fish. And it adds the perfect sweetness that mellows the saltiness.
You can have this dish any time too. Having salted fish and smoked herring is popular here in Trinidad for breakfast served with hops or warm coconut bake or bread which is so good and will post the recipe for that too soon but it’s not limited to just eating it at those times. I love it anytime and many times this makes for a very very quick dinner with lots of flavour and super filling because of the delicious starchy provision. Serve it up with a green salad and your good to go.
- 12 oz of salted cod or pollock
- 1 onion chopped
- 6-8 pimento peppers or 1-2 sweet peppers chopped
- 2 green onions chopped (chive)
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 1 tomato chopped
- 1⁄4 cup chopped chadon beni/cilantro
- 2 tbsps of chopped parsley
- 1 tbsp of fresh thyme
- 4 tbsps olive oil
- 1 tbsp tomatoe paste
- 1⁄2 cup water
- Salt and pepper to taste*
- 4-6 green fig/green banana (or if I don’t have fig I use 2 plantain, or 2-3 cassava)
- 3 large sweet potatoes
There are a few ways of preparing salted fish. The way that I usually prepare it is to boil drain rinse it twice over. Allow to cool and then shred with hands or fork. But you can also soak it and rinse it well.
Heat up a large skillet/pan with oil and pan fry starting with the onions and then add in the peppers, garlic, herbs and tomato.
Add in the fish and sauté with vegetables for a couple minutes, add the tomato paste and stir well and then add your water, bring to a boil then turn heat down to low and let simmer for approx ten minutes or until most of the water has evaporated and it looks more wet than saucy.
While that is simmering away (or you can prepare before the salt fish) peel and chop your sweet potatoes and boil them in salted water until done ( can also roast if you prefer), drain and set aside
Wash the green fig and boil in salted water in large pot with one tablespoon of the oil. The figs leave a residue in the pot which can be a pain to remove but the oil in the water helps with that.
Boil until done until you can stick a knife through them just like you would test the sweet potatoes. Once done drain water and let cool enough to handle. Slice right down the curved middle ( if they haven’t already split) and usually the whole fig will slide out otherwise cut the ends off too and remove. Leave as is or slice them into smaller pieces and set aside
Serve the salted fish with the fig and sweet potatoes and a little green salad.
Notes: do not over-season the salted fish with salt. Even though you boil it over twice it will still have enough salt so taste as you go and be your own judge if using you can cook the plantain the same way as the green figs