Saturday, March 2, 2024

DISH OF THE WEEK: Real Bajan food


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Proprietor at David’s Place Darla Trotman was asked what appetiser, main course and dessert she might order.
To start, Darla chose flying fish melts, small strips of flying fish dipped in a lightly seasoned batter and deep-fried into crunchy strings before being served hot with a side of spicy local Kelly’s pepper jelly, which contrasted well with the crunchy melts.
For her main course, Darla chose the rack of lamb, four Barbadian Black Belly lamb chops marinated in David’s own Bajan marinade, grilled until very well done and served in a local mint sauce with spinach, fried plantains and peas-and-rice.
For dessert, Darla served coconut cream pie, a thick custard filled with grated coconut and topped with meringue for textural contrast.
Bajan authenticity
“The reason I chose the starter,” said Darla, “is we like to think of flying fish melts as ‘Barbadian caviar’. I did think about our pickled chicken wings because I don’t believe there’s another restaurant in Barbados that does them. But I went with the Barbadian caviar because a lot of people are unfamiliar with it.”
“The main course is, again, very Barbadian, using our own local Black Belly sheep. We use only local produce if we can. Our dinners are served with a choice of cou-cou, French fries or peas-and-rice and three in-season Bajan vegetables. We serve whatever’s freshest. We do have four different kinds of shrimp, sautéed, fried, curried and Creole, and they were tempting but rack of lamb is my own favourite main course.”
“To keep the Barbadian flavours and ways of cooking,” said Darla, “we’ve always stayed with Barbadian cooks rather than chefs. I find that when chefs are trained internationally, they want to put an international twist to Bajan food and present it in a very beautiful way but that’s not what we’re about. We’re about good, home-cooked Barbadian food in an elegant atmosphere. But it has to be traditional Barbadian cooking.”
“Dessert was the easiest choice,” said Darla. “Coconut cream pie is our signature dish. We’ve been serving it for 29 years the same way, prepared by the same lady, who has never written down the recipe or made a measurement, just takes a pinch of that, a cup or so of this.
    It’s extremely popular but when she goes we may have to take it off the menu. A lot of people order a full pie to take home, they enjoy it so much. The chocolate brownie is very good and I like it myself
but you can get a brownie anywhere and I wanted to do a very Bajan dish.”
• The Plat de la Semaine (or Dish of the Week) is a feature of – the online edition of the magazine Cré Olé (pronounced Cray Olay), the annual guide to dining in Barbados.


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