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The Caribbean Pantry Cookbook: Condiments and Seasonings from the Land of Spice and Sun
Dry Jerk Seasoning
Montego Bay meets Memphis in this recipe, a spice rub based on Jamaica's traditional jerk seasoning. Sprinkle this rub on ribs, pork chops, chicken breasts, and seafood prior to grilling. Or substitute it for Cajon spice in your favorite pan-blackening recipe. You can also stir a few tablespoons into sour cream to make an unusual dip.
The traditional chili pepper for jerk is, of course the Jamaican hot or Scotch bonnet. This recipe calls for the closely realted habanero chili, which is more readily available dried or powdered.
When grinding whole dried habaneros, drape a dish towel over the grinder or blender and take care not to inhale the dust. Several companies sell habanero chili poweder. I've suggested a range for the chili powder: the tender of tongue should start with 1 tablespoon; the pyromaniac will want to use the full 2.
1 to 2 tablespoons habanero chili powder, or to taste
1/4 cup freeze-dried chives
2 tablespoons onion powder
2 tablespoons garlic powder
2 tablespoons kosher salt
4 teaspoons ground coriander
4 teaspoons ground ginger
2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
2 teaspoons dried thyme
2 teaspoons ground allspice
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
Combine the chili powder, chives, onion powder, garlic powder, salt, coriander, ginger, pepper, thyme, allspice, cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg in a spice mill or blender and grind to a fine powder.
Store the rub in a jar or airtight box away from heat and light. It will keep for several months.
Makes about 1 cup.
These aren't your run-of-the-mill onion rings, not with their fiery seasoning of Volcanic Hot Sauce and Jamaican Dry Jerk Seasoning. The buttermilk makes the onion rings exceptionally tender. Rasta Rings would make a good accompaniment to the Palomilla on page 46.
2 large white onions (about 1 pound)
2 1/2 cups buttermilk
1 to 2 tablespoons Volcanic Hot Sauce (page 58), or your favorite hot sauce
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup fine white cornmeal
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/3 cup Dry Jerk Seasoning
1 tablespoon salt, plus salt for sprinkling
2 to 3 cups canola oil
Peel the onions and cut crosswise into thin (1/8-inch to 1/4-inch) slices. Break the slices into rings with your fingers and place them in a shallow bowl with the buttermilk an hot sauce. Gently toss to mix and place in the refrigerator. Marinate the onion rings in this mixture for 1 to 2 hours, mixing as necessary.
Combine the flour, cornmeal, cornstarch, 1/4 cup jerk seasoning, and 1 tablespoon salt in another mixing bowl and whisk to mix.
Just before serving, heat 1 1/2 to 2 inches of oil to 375 F in a skillet or electric frying pan.
Remove the onion rings from the buttermilk and drain. Toss the rings in the seasoned flour. Remove the rings from the flour, shaking off the excess, and lower them into the oil. Fry the onion rings until golden brown, 1 to 2 minutes, working in several batches. Transfer the onion rings to paper towel to drain. Sprinkle the Rasta Rings with the remaining jerk seasoning, salt to taste, and serve at once.
The smooth molded custard known as flan was brought to the Caribbean by the Spanish. Today it's popular throughout the West Indies, where it often takes on a distinctly tropical character, thank to the addition of coconut and local spices.
The following recipe yields individual flans, but you could also make one big one, using an 8-inch cake pan.
For the caramel:
1 cup sugar
For the custard:
1 1/2 cups Coconut Milk (page 129, or canned)
1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
5 eggs, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons dark rum
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
Prepare the caramel. Combine the sugar and 1/4 cup water in a saucepan. Cover theh pan and cook over high heat for 2 minutes. Uncover the pan and continue cooking until the sugar mixture caramelizes (turns a deep golden brown), 3 to 4 minutes. Pour a little caramel into each of eight 1/2-cup ramekins or one 8-inch cake pan and tilt to coat the bottom and sides with carmel. Warning: take care not to drip any caramel on your fingers--it's excruciatingly hot; you may wish to wear gloves to protect your hands. Bring 1 quart of water to a boil. Preheat the oven to 350 F.
Prepare th custard. Combine the coconut milk, sweetened condensed milk, eggs, rum, vanilla, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a mixing bowl and whisk until smooth. Strain this mixture into the ramekins or cake pan. Place the ramekins or pan in a roasting pan with 1/2 inch boiling water. Place the pan in the oven.
Bake the flans until set, about 30 minutes. When cooked, an inserted toothpick or skewer will come out clean. Transfer to a cake rack and cool to room temperature. Refrigerate the flans for at least 6 hours, preferably overnight.
Just before serving, run the tip of a paring knife around the inside edge of each ramekin or cake pan. Place a dessert plate over each and invert the flan onto the plate. (You may need to give the flans a little shake.) Spoon any caramel that remains in the ramekin over and around the flan.
Excerpted from The Caribbean Pantry Cookbook. Copyright (c) by Steven Raichlen. Reprinted with permission by Artisan.
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