Buljol is a Trinidadian dish, a breakfast staple food that can be served with a fresh coconut bake - a flat bread. It is a shredded fish fillet, originally made with salted cod, easily available all year round. Preparing salt fish is quite time consuming and laborious. First, you need to soak it in warm water, then remove bones carefully. The trick is not to soak the fish too long because your meal will be flaky and tasteless. However, if you do not soak it enough you dish will be very salty indeed.
Smoked Mackerel Eureka
Since we live in the UK, sourcing a good quality salt fish is a lottery. Never mind the preparation method, the buljol salt fish has become a home treat. Therefore, I figured why not tinker the recipe a bit and replace the salt fish?! That is how the smoked mackerel buljol was born. It became instant sunday breakfast hit! The bones were few and way easier to clean. Even my Trini mother-in-law loved it. So here we go.
You will need three or four smoked mackerel fillets, discard skins and shred the flesh with your fingers. Take care to remove any bones and place the flaked fish in a bowl. Then slice finely tomatoes and onion. The ratio of ingredients is for guidance only and it depends on your preferences. I like less onions more tomatoes. Once you combine together mackerel, tomatoes and onions in a bowl, then season it with pepper and fleur de sel. However, do taste it before seasoning as smoked mackerel could be a bit salty and you might have to adjust how many pinches of fleur de sel you will need. Now add olive oil generously to make the salad moist.
Time to Eat
Let flavours infuse together and serve buljol at breakfast or lunch with avocados and side dish of your choice. Trinis would serve it with a coconut bake or with fried plantains and other home baked breads. In the unorthodox kitchen we run, we often serve it with ground provisions like: cooked cassava, eddoes, roasted sweet potatoes. You can even have buljol with chips.
3 or 4 smoked mackerel fillets
4 medium size tomatoes on a vine
Few pinches of fleur de sel
Cold pressed olive oil