Island Recipes: Breadfruit "Oil-Down"

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Breadfruit "Oil-Down" Get the Recipe Return to Main PageLori Barbely

Breadfruit is a starchy tree fruit that was a mainstay for slaves and indentured laborers because it was filling but cheap for plantation owners to provide. It was often flavored with an equally cheap cut of pork, such as pig’s feet.

“Oil-down” refers to the cooking method by which vegetables are stewed in coconut milk until all of the milk is absorbed and just a bit of coconut oil is left in the bottom of the pan. I find that smoked ham, bacon, or turkey bacon provides good flavor in this dish, but you can omits meat altogether and it tastes just as good.

SERVES 4

– 1 tablespoon canola oil
– 1 large onion, minced
– 1 fresh pimiento pepper, stemmed, seeded, and chopped, or 1 teaspoon paprika
– 1 clove garlic, minced
– 1/4-pound smoked bacon or turkey bacon, diced (optional)
– 3 scallions, finely chopped
– 1/2 Scotch bonnet or other hot red chili pepper, stemmed, seeded, and minced
– 1 teaspoon fresh thyme, or 1/2 teaspoon dried
– 4 cups coconut milk
– 1 large breadfruit, peeled, seeded, and chopped into large chunks*

– coarse or kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Heat the canola oil in a deep saucepan and add the onion and pimiento pepper. (If using paprika, add with the coconut milk.) Sauté until soft. Add the garlic and bacon and sauté for 1 minute more. Add the scallions, hot pepper, and thyme, and sauté for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Stir in the coconut milk (and paprika if using) and bring to a boil. Mix in the breadfruit and salt and black pepper to taste. Lower the heat and cover. Simmer for 30 to 40 minutes, or until the breadfruit has absorbed all the coconut milk. Serve hot.

*TIP

Breadfruit is available canned. One 16-ounce can is roughly equivalent to one fresh breadfruit. Drain well before using.