Right now, many of us are wishing that we could be on an island somewhere, with a fruity drink in our hands and our toes dipped in the sand. Unfortunately however, the reality is that we’re living amidst a global pandemic and leisure travel will not be on the horizon for quite some time.
The good news: you can escape to the Caribbean through your own kitchen! Here are a few recipes to bring the fare of your favorite tropical hotspot right into your home.
Lionfish Ceviche with Mango and Lime - St. Lucia
Ingredients: 1 pound lionfish (can be substituted for any fresh, mild, white fish); 1 tbsp kosher salt; 1 ¼ cup freshly squeezed lime juice; 1 cup white vinegar; 2 medium jalapenos (minced); 1 large sweet red pepper (julienned); 1 large firm mango (finely julienned); 1 medium red onion (shaved); 1 tsp minced garlic; ½ tbsp freshly ground black pepper; ¼ tsp crushed red chili flakes; ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil; ½ cup freshly picked cilantro leaves.
Instructions: Cut lionfish into short, thin, julienned pieces. Place in a stainless steel bowl and season with 2 teaspoons of salt. Pour lemon and lime juice over fish, cover, and refrigerate for half an hour. Drain citrus juices using a colander. Pour the vinegar over the fish while tossing lightly. Using a large bowl, add jalapenos, peppers, mango, onion, garlic, salt, pepper, and chili flakes. Toss lightly and cover with olive oil. Cover and refrigerate to let set for at least half hour. Add cilantro and mix well before serving. (Recipe courtesy of Jade Mountain)
Guava and Cream Cheese Rolls - Cayman Islands
Ingredients: 3 eggs, room temperature; ¾ cup (6 oz) buttermilk, room temperature; ¼ cup sugar; 2 ¼ teaspoon dry yeast; 4 ¼ cup (21 ¼ oz); All purpose flour; 6 tablespoons butter, melted & cool; 1/3 cup soft butter; 1 cup brown sugar; 8 ounces cream cheese, frozen and cut into cubes; 8 ounces guava paste, cubed; 8 ounces guava shells, chopped, no syrup; 8 tablespoons butter, room temperature; 1 ½ cups powdered sugar; 8 ounces cream cheese; 8 ounces Guava paste cubed; ½ tsp vanilla extract; 1/8 teaspoon salt.
Instructions: In a mixer, whisk eggs and buttermilk to mix. Add the sugar, salt and yeast, allow yeast to activate for about 15 minutes. Add 2 cups of flour and the butter, stir with a spatula. Add the other 2 cups of flour and knead with the dough hook on low speed for 5 minutes. The dough should come clean from the sides, add more flour if necessary. Knead for 5 more minutes, then knead by hand for 1 minute. Place the dough in a greased bowl and cover for 2 ½ hours to allow for proofing. Roll the dough to 21”x16” and ¼” thickness. Spread the butter on the dough leaving ½” border free of the butter. Sprinkle the brown sugar evenly. Distribute the cream cheese cubes, guava paste and chopped guava over the dough. Roll the dough, and pinch at the seams then cut into 1 ¾” thick. Place in a buttered pan, cover and allow to proof for 45 minutes. Bake at 400 degree for 20-25 minutes. For the icing, beat all the ingredients except for the guava paste until fluffy. Scrap down the bowl and add the guava paste and beat until incorporated into smaller pieces. (Recipe courtesy of Chef Thomas Tennant of Tomfoodery Kitchen)
Jerk Beef Tenderloin - Jamaica
Ingredients: 6 oz. beef medallions; 2 tbsp Jerk Seasoning; 2 tbsp olive oil; 1 small onion, finely diced; 2 tbsp scallion, chopped; 2 garlic cloves, minced; 1 sprig fresh thyme; 1 tbsp butter; 1 cup beef stock; 1/2 cup dry red wine; 1 tsp cornstarch.
Instructions: Place beef into a Ziplock bag with jerk seasoning. Coat beef in seasoning and place in the fridge to marinate overnight or for at least 4 hours. After marinating, warm olive oil in a large skillet on high heat. Once the oil is hot, sear beef on each side for 1 minute or until brown and remove from heat. In a separate pot, add onion, scallion, garlic and thyme and butter and saute for 2 minutes. Add beef stock and and red wine and bring to a boil, add cornstarch to thicken as desired. Pour sauce over beef and enjoy while hot. (Recipe courtesy of Chef Stefan Spath at Couples Resorts in Jamaica)
Pineapple Coconut Chia Pudding - Jamaica
Ingredients: 1 1/2 cups (360ml) of coconut milk; 6 tablespoon chia seeds; 2 tablespoon honey; 2 cups (480ml) diced fresh pineapple; 1 cup (240ml) fresh pineapple juice; 2 teaspoon brown sugar; Juice from 1 lime; Fresh pineapple, mint and coconut flakes for decoration.
Instructions: In a bowl, mix coconut milk with honey until honey is completely dissolved. Add chia seed and stir for about two minutes, you can also refrigerate this overnight. Add sugar in a medium sauce pot, or sauté pan, over medium heat and dissolve until caramelized. Add diced pineapple, pineapple juice and lime juice. Cook until juice is reduced and set aside to chill. Prepare serving cups by putting a layer of pineapple marmalade on the bottom, then a layer of chia pudding on top. Garnish with fresh pineapple and coconut flakes. (Recipe courtesy of Florian Durre at Palace Resorts)
Coconut Curry Fish on Plantain Wheel - British Virgin Islands
Ingredients: 1 Snapper or fillet of your choice;1 Plantain sliced; 4 ounces Cream cheese; 2 tbsp Curry season to taste; ½ Roasted Red pepper; 8ozs Coconut milk; 1 sprig of Thyme.
Instructions: Peel and slice plantain 1/2 inch round diameter and boil for about 5 to 7 mins. Drain and set aside. Rub red bell pepper with a touch of olive oil and on a grill pan Roast half the pepper. Peel the skin of the pepper. Season fish with salt and pepper to taste. Then sear each side for 3-4 mins until cooked or golden brown. Blend roasted pepper, fish, cream cheese, coconut milk and thyme in a food processor. Season with the curry. Add more curry, salt and pepper to your taste. Use a piping bag to decorate the plantain with the fish mix and garnish the top with microgreens. (Recipe courtesy of Chef Brent Lettsome from the British Virgin Islands)
Caribbean Reef Chicken - Dominica
Ingredients: 4 chicken thighs; 1/2 tsp salt;1/4 tsp pepper; 1.7 oz dark brown sugar; 4 tbsp dark rum - divided; 1 tbsp lime juice; 2 tbsp lemon pepper; 1 tbsp ginger;1 tbsp cloves - ground; 1/4 tsp cinnamon; 1/4 tsp garlic powder; 4 tbs mango chutney; Parsley - to serve.
Instructions: Sprinkle salt and pepper over chicken. Cover and set aside. In a small bowl, mix together sugar, 2 tablespoons of rum, lime juice, lemon pepper, ginger, cloves, cinnamon, garlic powder into a paste. Cover and set aside. Place the chicken skin side up in a shallow baking pan. Run Caribbean paste evenly over the chicken. Bake in a 200C oven for 45 minutes. Combine the mango chutney with 2 tablespoons of rum. Drizzle the chutney and rum mixture over the chicken and bake about three minutes more or until chutney is warm. Serve the chicken with a sprig of parsley. (Recipe courtesy of Discover Dominica)