“Saltfish Run Down” sounds like the name of a song, doesn’t it? Well it is actually a really cool Jamaican style curry, although I wouldn’t be surprised if someone was singing about it. We made this as a way to use up our plethora of Homemade Salt Cod from a few weeks ago, but internet research shows that other types of fish are used for Run Down as well, particularly mackerel.
Lyrically named Run Down for the reduction of the coconut milk used in the recipe, this dish combines sweet, rich coconut milk with the salty cured flavors of the cod and the unmistakeable kick of the seemingly ever-present habanero pepper. Thankfully, these flavors are brought back to earth with allspice and thyme. When I made it, I was pleased, especially since I kind of winged it (signature style, I guess.) I would definitely suggest paying attention to the taste of the dish, since so many strong flavors are combined and it could be easy for it to get out of hand. Taste, taste, taste while you are cooking! That way you can adjust where necessary. At one point I decided to add more allspice and a bit of grated ginger, and it made all the difference.
1. Soak the salt cod overnight, changing the water at least one time. When you are ready to use, remove the fish (giving a final rinse if necessary) and pat dry. Set aside.
2. Chop up one onion, 3 scallions, 2 tomatoes, 1 bell pepper, 3 heads garlic, and 1 habanero or Scotch Bonnet pepper. Sautee for a couple of minutes in a large pot (use the “head” of the coconut milk to sautee, reserving the rest for later.)
3. Get together a mixture of roughly 1 tsp. each allspice, thyme, salt and pepper. If you want to add a bit of grated ginger, now is the time to do it. Add this mixture to the sauteed vegetables and stir until fragrant.
4. Add the rest of coconut milk and bring to a simmer.
5. Add the salt cod, slowly stirring to break up the filet(s.)
6. Let simmer 20 minutes, adjusting for taste. Optional: Add juice of two limes, and/or tablespoon of white vinegar. Add more salt to taste. Serve and enjoy!
Check out our other Caribbean recipes below: