The Spice Man Cometh: Some ‘Ting Nice’s Mark Reid Shares Seven Go-To Caribbean Ingredients
Since October, Some âTing Nice executive chef Mark Reid has been bringing the flavors of the Caribbean to Somerville, serving up homey stewed oxtail, fragrant bowls of fish tea, and spicy jerk pork in a sunny, mural-splashed space. âWest Indian food is a food that lingers,â Reid says. âIt gives you a high which youâll keep craving.â To bring a dose of island flavor to your own kitchen island, Reid suggests stocking up on the following West Indian staples. âKorsha Wilson
Walkerswood Jerk Seasoning
Many of the herbs and spices in this pastelike seasoningâsuch as scallions, thyme, and nutmegâare grown in the hilly St. Ann Parish region of Jamaica. Reid suggests using it as a marinade for chicken or pork.
Â Shado Beni
Sometimes called Caribbean cilantro, or culantro, this herb is grown in the Caribbean, Asia, and Africa, and has long, paddle-shaped leaves that pack intense cilantro flavor. Add a couple of chopped leaves to rice after cooking, incorporate into salsa, or use to top off soups.
While itâs tough to find guava fresh, itâs easy to track it down in jellylike paste form. Use it as a bright tart or cookie filling, or as a quirky substitution for quince paste on a cheese board.
Scotch Bonnet Peppers
The star ingredient in escovitchâa tangy seafood dish that pairs hot peppers with butter and cider or white vinegarâthese flower-shaped, brutally hot peppers can be subbed in for habaneros. But beware: âYou get teary-eyed even if you donât want to,â Reid says. âThey set your lips on fire.â
The flowers of the sorrel plant are used to make the maroon-red drink found at many West Indian restaurants (see below).
In the Caribbean, pimiento seeds (commonly known as allspice) add that âearthy, smokyâ flavor to curries and spice rubs.
Â Red Stripe
Reid uses this easy-drinking, lightly hoppy Jamaican lager to baste jerk chicken. âUse one or two beers,â Reid says. âThen hang out and [drink] the rest while it cooks.â
Find theseÂ ingredients atÂ Tropical Foods,Â 2101 Washington St.,Â Roxbury,Â 617-442-7439,Â tropicalfoods.net.
Sorrel drink, a wildly popular beverage in Jamaica, is made by steeping sorrel buds (from the hibiscus family) overnight to create a strong tea base. âThere will never be the same taste, body, strength, and color in any two houses,â Reid says. He suggests using the following proportions as a guideline and experimenting until you reach a version that suits your own personal taste.
- 1 lb. sorrel buds
- 2 oz. ginger root
- 2Â˝ qt. water
- 8â12 pimiento seeds (whole allspice)
- 1 cinnamon stick
- sugar (brown or white)
1. Bring water to a rolling boil in a large pot; grate or crush ginger.
2. Add ginger, pimiento seeds, and the cinnamon stick to the water and stir.
3. Add sorrel buds, turn off the heat, cover, and allow to steep for 12 to 24 hours.
4. Strain the cooled liquid and discard solids.
5. Sweeten and refrigerate until ready to use. Serve over ice.
6. To make more adult-friendly, spike with white rum, port, or a fruity red wine before serving.
Source URL: http://www.bostonmagazine.com/restaurants/article/2014/03/25/caribbean-ingredients/