In the West Indies, the traditional aperitif is a ti’punch, a mix of white rum, cane sugar, and lime, accompanied by accras, little deep-fried fritters made with codfish and flour, served with a spicy sauce. They are often offered on the list of appetizers at local restaurants and make a great snack while waiting for your meal to be served. Another delicious traditional option is the « Creole platter », featuring stuffed crab, West Indian sausage, and cristophine with codfish. Caribbean lobsters are also a popular choice found on the menu in many local restaurants. In addition to the classic recipe of simply grilled lobster, many chefs add them to baked casseroles or salads. Be sure to try a local lobster, you will not be disappointed!
West Indians also like heavier dishes featuring meat or fish, served with aromatic sauces and vegetables, such as curried goat, chicken, or pork, as well as a court bouillon made with mahi-mahi or other tropical fish caught close to the shores of Saint Barth.
The West Indies also feature lush, tropical vegetation and a profusion of fruits and vegetables that grow on various islands: bananas, mangos, papayas, pineapples, passion fruit, local cherries and other tropical fruits such as corossols, caramboles (star fruit), and quenettes. In restaurants, these fruits are served in fresh fruit salad, or made into sorbet or ice cream. Grilled fish is often accompanied by pureed yams, slices of sweet potato or giraumon (Creole name for pumpkin squash), as well as avocado or other vegetables found in the fresh produce section of supermarkets along with fruit. Your visit to St Barth is the perfect time to try these local fruits and vegetables. They are easy to cook and if you have a doubt, ask a native; the local population is known for its kindness.
Ingredients for 2 servings
1 very ripe avocado
150 grams of codfish
1 bouquet of herbs
Juice from one lemon
1 hot pepper cut into small slices
Salt and pepper
- Soak the codfish in a bowl of water for 48 hours before use to remove the salt, changing the water regularly; then cook it for 15 minutes in boiling water with a bouquet of herbs. Let cool and shred into small pieces.
- Peel the avocado and cut the flesh into small pieces and mash it in a salad bowl.
- Once the avocado has been mashed into a paste, add the lemon juice, the codfish, the hot pepper, the salt and pepper. Serve on a plate decorated with parsley sprigs and tomato slices.
Ingredients for 4 people
5 thick mahi-mahi steaks
1/3 bouquet of parsley
4 cloves of garlic
5 bouquet of herbs
3 very ripe tomatoes
1 tablespoon of “roucou” oil
Juice from one lemon
Preparation Cut up the herbs and tomatoes and brown them in the roucou oil in a large covered pot. When the mixture has softened, place the fish steaks in the pot, add salt and cover with very hot water. Cover the pot and cook on a low fire for 20 minutes. Before serving, add the lemon juice.
Serve accompanied with white rice or a slice of polenta (called fungi in St Barth), and don’t forget a small taste of hot chili pepper.
In a pretty bottle, mix fresh roucou seeds and good-quality sunflower oil. Let the seeds sit in the sun for 15 days, shaking the bottle from time to time. The oil will take on a nice red tint, and can be used in court bouillon and any cooked vegetables in a sauce.