Caribbean Kitchen (Summer 1995)

International chef Joe Brown continues his Caribbean journey, this time on the water


Simple recipes easily prepared in the confined space of most yachts

Imagine that you are on one of the many charter yachts that sail the sparkling waters of the Caribbean islands. The sun is setting, cocktail hour is upon us, and soon it is time to eat. Here are some simple recipes easily prepared in the confined space of most yachts

Braised Fish With Island Vegetables

Any freshly-caught fish will do, but grouper or snapper steaks are firm and lend themselves well to gentle braising.

2 1/2 Ibs. cleaned fish cut into steaks

1 hot Scotch bonnet pepper, salt, pepper, garlic powder and a touch of chili powder

Juice from 2 limes

4 ml. dry white wine (2 ml. for the sauce and 2 for the cook)

1 chopped onion

2 diced carrots

2 diced christophene

2 diced pumpkins

Dried oregano

2 ozs. butter or good quality oil

1 pt. water

1. Cut fish into equal-sized steaks and season with lime juice, salt, pepper, garlic powder and chili powder.

2. Heat oil or butter in heavy skillet and quickly brown and seal the fish on both sides. Remove from the pan.

3. Add the chopped onions and deglaze the pan with white wine. (At this stage, the cook may also partake of refreshment.)

4. Add all diced vegetables except sweet peppers.

5. Add water and simmer until vegetables are half done, then add fish again to pan, add sweet peppers and oregano and simmer for about 4 minutes until fish is tender.

6. Remove fish and reduce the stock by 1/3, then lightly thicken with cornstarch. At this stage the addition of a little fresh coconut milk makes for a more interestingly flavoured sauce.

7. Pour sauce over fish and serve immediately.

Serves 4.

Shrimp and Lobster Jambalaya

Although this dish originates from the Louisiana Bayou, the plentiful seafood available to the Caribbean sailor and the fact that it is all cooked in one pot makes this an easy galley dish.

2 Ibs. large shrimp, peeled and deveined

2-4 Ib. lobster

2 chopped onions

3 ozs. diced celery

6 tomatoes, cut into 8

2 pts. water

3 ozs. tomato paste

2 fl. ozs. soy oil

1 Ib. uncooked rice

Seasoning powder: salt, chili powder, dried oregano, ground white and black pepper, dried thyme leaf. (Prepare the seasoning mix ahead of time by mixing equal quantities of the ingredients. For this recipe 2-3 teaspoons will do.)

1. Season the shrimp and lobster with the seasoning mix.

2. Heat oil in a heavy-bottom sauce pan.

3. Quickly sautée shrimp and lobster, then remove.

4. Add onion, celery, sweet peppers and tomatoes, sautée for 2 to 3 minutes, add tomato paste and water.

5. Bring to boil, add balance of seasoning mix, add rice, reduce heat, cover and simmer until rice is almost cooked.

6. Return shrimp and lobster to rice mix, mix well and allow rice to finish cooking. The natural steam will also finish cooking the shrimp and lobster.

7. Mix well and adjust seasoning if necessary.

Notes: (1) For a spicier dish, sprinkle with Tabasco or a local Scotch Bonnet hot sauce. (2) When the rice is cooked, there should still be liquid in the pot; ideally the rice should always remain wet.

Caribbean Daiquiri

After all the hard work, the galley slave should be entitled to a cocktail before dinner, preferably prepared by the skipper. The following is a simple yet soothing recipe to be enjoyed anytime.

Juice of 1 lime,

1/2 oz. Triple Sec,

2 oz. Light White Rum

Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake well and pour into a chilled cocktail glass.