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Jamaican Style Fish and Shrimp with Coconut Milk, Papaya and Plantains

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This light, slightly sweet Jamaican Fish and Shrimp recipe was created after an incredibly tasty dish that my husband and I had during our visit to Jamaica. We love traveling and we are the kind of people who go out and explore, so we had the chance to try all kinds of different dishes during our stay. We tried from the simplest and also the most elaborate Jamaican delights and, hands-down, this recipe was our favorite. So once I got back home, I HAD to replicate it.

Figuring out the flavors in Jamaican cuisine is not that hard for me – Brazilian cuisine is quite similar – which means that both cuisines use plenty of tropical fruits, herbs, coconut milk and seafood. The techniques are simple too. Although, in the recipe that I am sharing here, I tried papaya and bananas (plantains) for the first time mixed in a savory sauce – and it was phenomenal! In Brazil, papaya and bananas are typically served in desserts and cakes, so I loved to have tried something unexpected!

I want to say a big THANK YOU to Chef Shane Thompson from Blue Mahoe (at the Spa Retreat Hotel, in Negril) for serving me something that delighted and inspired me. ONE LOVE.

Serves 6

Ingredients:

  • 3 tablespoons canola oil, plus more for brushing the fish
  • 1 ripe plantain, peeled and cut diagonally into thin (about 1/8-inch) rings
  • 1 pound large shrimp, cleaned and deveined
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • ½ red bell pepper, cored and diced
  • ½ green pepper, cored and diced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, peeled and shredded
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 ripe tomatoes, peeled and seeded
  • 1 can unsweetened coconut milk (14 ounces)
  • 1 cup papaya, peeled, seeded and cut into strips
  • ½ cup scallions, finely chopped
  • 2 ½ pounds cod, cut into six fillets
  • Jasmine rice, for serving (See Cook’s Notes)

Directions:

In a large skillet set over medium-high heat, place canola oil. When it starts shimmering, add plantains. Fry for 3 minutes on each side, until it turns golden brown. Remove from oil and place on a paper towel. Set aside.

Heat the oven to 425 degrees F.

On a working surface, season shrimp with salt and pepper.

On a large skillet set over high heat, add coconut oil and heat until shimmering. Add shrimp and sauté until it turns pink and starts to curl; 1 ½ to 2 minutes. Remove shrimp and set aside.

Return the same skillet to a medium-high heat, and add onions, red bell pepper, and green bell peppers. If necessary, add a bit more oil to the skillet. Cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are tender; 4 minutes. Add ginger and garlic, and cook until fragrant; 40 seconds. Add tomatoes and stir for 1 minute. Reduce heat to medium-low and add coconut milk. Cook, stirring occasionally, until sauce has thickened; 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Fold in papaya, scallions and shrimp.

In the meantime, season fish with salt and pepper. Brush both sides of the fish with canola oil. Bake until it flakes easily with a fork; 11 to 14 minutes. Remove from oven and assemble the plates.

Assemblage:

Place fish on serving plate. Arrange a few plantains slices on top of fish; 3 to 4 slices per fish fillet. Pour a generous ladle of shrimp sauce on top of fish. Serve immediately, with a side of jasmine rice – or a side of rice and peas.

Cook’s Notes:

This dish was served with a typical Jamaican side: Rice and Peas. Particularly, I recommend just plain and simple Jasmine Rice instead.

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