*singing* Summer, summer, summer time. I swear that song is still a banger. I just got back from my epic 6-week summer tour which saw me rambling up and down the East coast/Southeast and included attending #BlogHer17, I’m happy but exhausted and slightly overwhelmed by all the information I received and connections I was able to make. Check out my #BlogHer17 recap here. I’ll probably do a summer tour recap…sooner or later.
I meant to post this recipe last week for my #SummerEats series, but really I couldn’t. I’ve been feeling mentally and physically spent so I took a tiny break but now I’m back alas, with a little something different today. #GrowingUpCrucian saltfish and fungi was a staple meal in many a household. It’s a local delicacy and could be considered the official dish. I’m not sure when Virgin Islanders started making this dish centuries ago but I’m certain that it was derived from dishes our ancestors brought over on the slave ships. Once they got to the Caribbean they used the ingredients they had on hand to make meals that were reminiscent of those they had back home. Talk about homesickness! Food is always filled with love and history I believe. The dish itself is made of saltfish/bacalao which is usually cod, it’s dried and cured with salt so it has to be soaked prior to use. This fungi is not a fungus grown in a lab or a funghi as in mushroom. I know it can be confusing. This fungi is made of ground cornmeal and okra and very similar to polenta in Italy, fufu in many African dishes or cou-cou in other parts of the Caribbean. When done properly it should be incredibly smooth and velvety in texture.
This dish is a spin on traditional salt fish and fungi, I wanted to lighten it up a bit for the summer and be able to serve at a dinner or garden party as an appetizer, like all the other dishes in my summer eat series. I’m all about small bites that are different but highlight those local flavors, so I came up with this recipe for arepas topped saltfish gundy.
Arepas are corn cakes made from cornmeal, water, and salt that are cooked on a hot griddle. They can be eaten as is or stuffed with meats, cheese or veggies. They are Venezuela, Colombia, and many other South American countries. You can also find them in Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, Trinidad and the Canary Islands. Which is not surprising when you think about the Atlantic slave trade, Caribbean, and Latin American food in many ways is a map back to our homeland and tells a story in itself, but let’s leave that deepness for another day.
To the kitchen, we go!
I just used a standard arepa recipe that was on the back of the package masarepa that I had. The only difference is that I made the arepas bite-sized.
1 1/2 cups masarepa
1 1/2 cups warm water
2 tablespoons milk
pinch of salt
butter for coating pan or griddle (*you can also use nonstick spray or coconut oil)
1. Combine the corn flour, water, milk, and salt, mixing thoroughly. Let mixture stand for five minutes.
2. Form disk shaped arepas, each about 1 inches in diameter, 1/8″ thick.
3. Heat a lightly greased skillet over medium heat. Cook the arepas in batches until crispy and golden brown on each side.
1 pound salted cod, boneless & skinless
1/2 onion, finely diced
3 aji dulce, finely diced (you can use regular sweet peppers)
¼ bell pepper, red & yellow, diced
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon white vinegar (optional)
Pre-soak codfish overnight to remove excess salt, (*it’s very salty so change water at least twice)
Drain excess water and flake fish using fingers into large bowl, then set aside
Using medium size skillet and olive oil, then add shallots, aji dulce and bell pepper. Sautee for 1-2 minutes, you want to get the raw-ish taste out the veggies but still have them retain their color and bite.
Add sauteed veggies to the bowl, add a splash of white vinegar and mix to combine all ingredients together.
Let sit for a few minutes.
Serve on top arepas
So tell me have you ever tried arepas? Or saltfish and fungi? How’d you like it? Let me know in the comments!