We had an amazing vacation in Jamaica a few years ago. As a result, we really enjoy Jamaican cuisine and flavors. Whenever I cook with a Jamaican flare, it always brings us back to the memories of our great vacation. I was fortunate to have a one-on-one, hands-on cooking class with the Executive Chef at the resort where we were staying, and he gave me some great insight into Jamaican flavors. Similar to other international foods, I enjoy creating a fusion version of Jamaican cuisine and that is what I have done with this dish below.
It will be important to have a grill as well as a copper grill mat to prepare this great Jamaican main course.
For the Sautéed Kale and Spinach:
3 strips of Bacon, Cooked in the Oven (and you can easily access the recipe for that by clicking on the title), chopped, but reserve the bacon grease
3 cups of Kale, chopped
2 cups of Spinach, chopped
4 cloves of Garlic, minced
⅓ cup of Red Onion, finely chopped
Half of a Scotch Bonnet Pepper, finely chopped and equal to about 1 teaspoon; these are very hot peppers, so you can add more or less based on your preference. (Note: We grow these peppers, and they are an important aspect of Jamaican cuisine.)
1 tablespoon of Chives, finely chopped
1 tablespoon of Cilantro, finely chopped,
Juice of 1 lime
½ tablespoon of Island Spice, Jamaican Jerk Seasoning, ground down to a fine powder (I use a coffee grinder that is used exclusively for grinding spices, which is a great tip I learned long ago. I highly recommend getting a coffee grinder that is only used for grinding spices.)
For the Grilled Fruit, Mushrooms, and Tomatoes:
8 bamboo skewers, soaked in water for a few hours
1 cup of fresh Mango, chopped into bite-size chunks
1 cup of fresh Pineapple, chopped into bite-size chunks
1 cup of Cherry or Grape Tomatoes, sliced in half
1 cup of Brown Mushrooms, sliced in half
1 tablespoon of Bacon Grease (or Extra-Virgin Olive Oil)
2 teaspoons of Island Spice, Jamaican Jerk Seasoning, ground to a powder (see note above)
For the Jerk Snapper:
2 fillets of Red Snapper
1 tablespoon of Bacon Grease (or Extra-Virgin, Olive Oil)
2 teaspoons Island Spice, Jamaican Jerk Seasoning, ground to a powder (see note above)
Preheat the grill to medium. While the grill is heating, place the fruit and vegetables on the bamboo skewers. Everything will require different cooking times, so put the mango together on 2 skewers, then put the pineapple chunks together on 2 skewers, and the tomatoes together on 2 skewers and the mushrooms on the last 2 skewers. Using a barbeque brush, brush the 1 tablespoon of the bacon grease (or extra-virgin olive oil) on both sides of the fruit, the mushrooms, and the tomatoes, and then sprinkle the 2 teaspoons of jerk seasoning powder over completely, and set them aside until you are ready to grill them.
In a large sauté pan, add 1 tablespoon of the bacon grease (or the extra-virgin olive oil), and heat the pan on a medium heat until the grease is shimmering. Add the garlic, the onions, and the scotch bonnet peppers and cook them until they are translucent. Add another tablespoon of the bacon grease (or the extra-virgin olive oil), and then add the kale and cook it for a few minutes. Add 1 teaspoon of the jerk seasoning powder, and stir the kale, the onion, the garlic and the scotch bonnet peppers; sauté for a few minutes. Then add the spinach to the sauté pan and continue to stir the mixture. Add any remaining jerk seasoning and stir. Sauté for 1-2 minutes more. Do not overcook them, but keep the greens nice and fresh, and still green. They should only cook for a few minutes in total. Remove the greens from the sauté pan, and place them in a serving dish or platter. Sprinkle the greens with the chopped bacon and chives and set them aside.
Once the grill is hot, place the skewers with the mangos, the pineapple, the mushrooms and the tomatoes on the grill. Turn the skewers periodically to allow the fruit to caramelize--just a few minutes on each side. It is important that the fruit, the mushrooms, and the tomatoes do not cook too much. They should remain fresh and still “al dente” inside. The mangos will cook a bit more quickly, so remove them first. The tomatoes will be the second to be done so those should be removed next. The pineapple and the mushrooms will take a bit longer, and once those are done, remove them from the grill.
Place a copper grill mat on the grill. Keep the grill at medium heat. Brush both sides of the snapper fillets with bacon grease or olive oil. Sprinkle 2 teaspoons of jerk seasoning on the fillets. Place the snapper fillets onto the copper grill mat. Grill the red snapper on each side for 3 minutes until the fish is nicely cooked, which will depend on the thickness of the snapper fillets.
Once the grilled jerk snapper is ready, place the fillets over the kale and spinach. Place the skewers around the sides of the platter. Squeeze the lime over the snapper and sprinkle the cilantro over everything on the platter. Serve immediately.