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Jerk Sweetcorn with Plantain Chips and Dips

In the Caribbean they use jerk spice mix, which is made of a variety of spices. The key ingredient in jerk spice is All Spice/Pimento, which is made from the dried green unripe berries of the pimento tree, which grows in the Caribbean. It has a flavour similar to nutmeg, cinnamon and cloves combined, but is not the same as mixed spice. Jerk Spice paste, sometimes called a rub is used to rub onto the vegetables or as a marinade before barbecuing. Sweetcorn is at its best now and easy to find the sweetcorn with the husks still on. The jerk spice rub makes the sweetcorn zing with spicy flavour. Can be chargrilled, grilled or for a popped on a late summer barbecue. Eat with plantain chips and chilli hot salsas.

Jerk Spice Mix

Makes 4 tbsp

Ingredients

  • 4 tsp whole allspice/pimento
  • 5 cm stick of cinnamon
  • 1 tsp black peppercorns
  • 1/3 nutmeg
  • 2 cloves
  • 1 tbsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne

Method

  1. Heat a small frying pan. Dry fry the whole pimento/allspice, cinnamon stick, black peppercorns, piece of nutmeg and cloves for a minute until fragrant. Grind the spices to a fine power using a spice grinder. Stir in the paprika and cayenne.

Jerk Spice Paste

Makes 5 tbsp

Ingredients

  • 2 spring onions, finely sliced
  • 10 sprigs of thyme
  • 4 large garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2 tbsp Jerk Spice Mix
  • 1 tsp dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp sunflower oil

Method

  1. Pull the leaves off the thyme stalks and blend all the jerk spice paste ingredients together in a mini food processor until smooth.

Jerk Sweetcorn 

Serves 4

Prep time 10 minutes | Cook time 10 minutes

Ingredients

  • 4 x sweetcorn, on the cob
  • 4 tsp jerk spice paste
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 tsp sunflower oil

Method

  1. Peel back the husks from the sweetcorn, keeping them attached to the base. Remove the hairy strands and tie the leaves up with string or with a strip of corn husk.
  2. Bring a large pan of water to the boil and cook the sweetcorn for 5 minutes. Drain the sweetcorn and cool down under cold water.
  3. Rub with oil and salt, then rub in the jerk spice paste.
  4. To cook either chargrill, grill or barbecue for 5 minutes turning often, until the sweetcorn is blistered in parts.
  5. Serve with plantain chips and a selection of salsas.

Plantain Chips

Serves 4

Prep time 10 minutes | Cook time 12 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 ripe plantains
  • 2 tbsp chickpea or plain flour for dusting
  • 1 tsp jerk spice mix
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • Pinch cayenne
  • 2-3 tbsp sunflower oil for shallow frying

Method

  1. Peel and slice the plantain thickly (1/2 cm) on the diagonal.
  2. Sieve the chickpea flour (or plain flour) and mix in the jerk spice mix, salt, black pepper and cayenne.
  3. Dip the plantain slices into the flour to lightly coat.
  4. Heat a large frying pan with half the sunflower oil. Fry the plantain in two batches. Make sure the oil is hot enough so that when you put a piece of plantain into the frying pan, it sizzles straight away. Fry the plantain slices until golden brown on both sides, it should take 2-3 minutes to colour each side of the plantain.
  5. Place the fried plantain slices on a plate with kitchen towel to absorb any excess oil and then fry the next batch.

Pineapple Salsa

Makes 250ml

Prep time 15 minutes | Cook time 10 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 Habanero chillies, deseeded and sliced
  • 1/2 small pineapple, peeled, cored and diced
  • 1 red pepper, de-seeded and diced
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 2 tbsp fresh chopped coriander

Method

  1. Heat a frying pan and melt the sugar to create a caramel. Add the Habanero chilli, diced pineapple and red pepper, and the lime juice, cook for 5 minutes until the red pepper and pineapple is soft.
  2. Add the fresh coriander when cooled.

Chadon Beli Chilli Dip

Ingredients

  • 40g coriander
  • 1 green Habanero chilli, deseeded
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled
  • Juice of 1/2 lime
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp water

Method

  1. Roughly chop the coriander, including all the stems. In a small food processor blend all the ingredients together to create a thick dip.

Charred Tomato Relish

Makes 250ml

Prep time 15 minutes | Cook time 20 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 large vine tomatoes, quartered
  • 1 red onion, sliced
  • 4 large garlic cloves
  • 2 Habanero chillies, deseeded
  • Juice of ½ lemon
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • ½ tsp salt

Method

  1. Keep the garlic in their skins, and half the chillies. 
  2. Place the tomatoes, red onion, garlic and chillies on a baking tray under a hot grill for 20 minutes or until the tomato skins are blistered, and the onion and garlic is soft. Allow to cool, then squeeze the garlic out of its skins and discard the skins.
  3. Place all the grilled vegetables into a blender and blend with the lemon juice, sugar and salt to taste. 

Delicious food photography by Rob Wicks of Eat Pictures.

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