Grilled Jamaican fish
whole fish with white meat. Of Finnish fish, whitefish, for example, is excellent for this dish. If you prefer more exotic fish, many ethnic food shops offer, for example, tilapia and other cichlids that are good choices for this dish.
fresh chilli, traditionally the variety used is “Scotch Bonnet”, but essentially any variety in the Habanero family will do just fine.
lime or lemon
Reserve approximately 250–300 g of raw fish for each diner. Clean and scale the fish carefully. Make cuts on both sides, which reach approximately halfway into the meat. Cut the lemon into longitudinal wedges. Squeeze lemon or lime juice into the cuts and sprinkle salt on top. Also sprinkle a little salt into the abdominal cavity of the fish and place a few thyme branches inside it together with the lemon wedge that you just used for squeezing juice into the side cuts. Leave the fish to season for one to two hours.
Peel the carrots and cut them into thin diagonal slices. Peel the onions and cut them into thin slices and separate the rings of the slices. The bell peppers can be sliced lengthwise or cut into rings, but try to keep the same style as the other vegetables. The chilli should be sliced into thin rings and the seeds removed to avoid fieriness. Approximately one medium-sized carrot, one onion and half a bell pepper are reserved for each diner. The chef can decide on the use of chilli according to personal taste, but it should be kept in mind that Scotch Bonnet and its relatives are extremely fiery chillies.
Heat up a small amount of oil in a wide pan and add the vegetables in the order of the required cooking time: first carrots, then bell peppers, onions and finally chilli. Sauté and turn the vegetables until they are cooked but still clearly crisp. Assemble the vegetables in the middle of the pan and pour some white vinegar over the vegetables so that the pan gives a hiss and the vaporised vinegar puffs a bit. Turn of the gas from underneath the pan or lift the pan to the side to cool down. Add some salt and a few thyme branches on top of the vegetables.
Wipe off any excess salt from the surface of the fish, dry the skin, apply a little oil onto the surface and place the fish in the hot grill to cook. The surface should be well roasted, even slightly charred. When the desired level of cooking has been reached, turn the fish and do the same on the other side. Then, turn the heat of the burner down, lower the lid and let the fish cook.
Serve the fish with the vegetables and, for example, grilled lime wedges. Unlike most grilled food, this dish does not suffer even if it has to wait amongst the vegetables. Traditionally, this dish is also prepared so that it is served reheated on the following day when the vegetables have settled and the fish has absorbed some flavour from them.
Recipe: Lauri Oravirta