I’m now a quarter of the way to having posted 1000 posts at this blog. Was wondering what to do special for it, but …. hey … my farmer’s market obliged by presenting me with yet another new find: Callaloo (possibly sometimes spelled “calaloo”, which is how they’d spelt it on the information card they’d tacked up).
I’m told it is Caribbean, and can be cooked, and that the small leaves are tender enough to be used in salads. Surfing around, I found preps that were Jamaican and preps that hailed from Trinidad. I was more prepared to go Jamaican this time around.
I’ve joined the CSA for Wild Carrot Farm this year, and they take a unique approach to the CSA world — you don’t have to show up every week to get the pre-packaged goodies they have for you — you show up when you can (at their farm, or at one of the markets they have booths at) and pick what you want from their selections. They subtract from what you paid, and assuming you pick up all you are entitled to, I save 10%. (If I were a family with a larger initial outlay, I’d be saving more.) This way, I’m not stuck with carrots at all, and I can control the amount of that prolific veggie, zucchini (courgettes). (I like zucchini, mind you, but it grows like kudzu here. Well, except when I try to grow it….) They grow callaloo this year. It is attractive, I’d say.
In Trinidad, they make the dish into sort of thick soup, along with coconut milk and okra, and dasheen leaves, for which apparently you can substitute in BABY spinach. It is seasoned with garlic, thyme, and scotch bonnet or habanero. It’s often served with crab in the shell, but the crab is optional.
In Jamaica, it is typically steamed with a little oil and butter, with some tomato and a bit of hot pepper, garlic and thyme. One recipe mentioned optional pig tails, highlighting a tradition where nothing but the squeak would be wasted. I went with coconut oil, thinking of those lyrics, “You put de lime in de coconut and drink it all up…” You can use whatever cooking oil you like, and perhaps if you wish do the oil half and half with butter. I was happy with just straight up coconut oil, which had pleasantly liquified for me on this hot summer night.
Here s the Jamaican recipe I adapted: Jamaican Steamed Callaloo
Prep Time: 15-20 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Rest Time: Not needed.
Serves: 2 as a side, 1 as a main.
Jamaican Steamed Callaloo
- 5 6 sprigs chopped callaloo
- 1/8 cup water
- 1.5 tablespoon coconut oil
- 1/2 medium-sized onion, diced
- 1 smallish-sized well ripened tomato, diced
- 1 large clove garlic, minced
- 1/3 skin of a scotch bonnet pepper finely chopped. Oh, wait, I used 1/2 jalapeno, de-seeded. (Seriously, here is one place you need to go with your personal flow! Also, some hot peppers are more peppery than others. Sample ahead.)
- 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme leaves (Or one sprig, fresh)
- 1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
- 1/8 teaspoon salt (optional)
- 1.5 tablespoon coconut oil (or your preferred oil/fat combo)
Get everything sliced up — I did discard the thickest parts of the callaloo stems, but apparently except for the very base, I dd not need to do so.
Rinse the callaloo well. Chop it into approximately 3/4 inch pieces.
Put the oil in a large skillet or a medium pot, and add the water. Heat to medium.
When it looks hot – yes, let your hand hover over the cooking implement, add the veggies and spices in layers in the order listed above. Cover, and let simmer there — reduce to low medium — for ten minutes.
After five minutes I used a spatula to mix the ingredients around briefly.
At 9 – 10 minutes you should be done. The callaloo should not turn brown, according to my source web site. This would mean it is over-cooked.
Serve, and enjoy! I had it as my main tonight and I’m actually satiated. I am looking up sources for seeds for growing callaloo for next summer. It does not have a strong flavor of itself, but I’m always on the lookout for cuisines from around the world.
OH, just so you know –I am a proud participant in Tell ‘En Tuesday — one of those linking up concepts out there!
And also — Fiesta Friday, truly just as fun!