As a lover of Caribbean food, I’m always open to give any dish from that culinary diaspora a try; the Bahamian fire engine reinforced my love for it. A friend of mine who sails extensively around the Caribbean with her husband told me about Bahamian fire engine. This piqued my interest and she promptly sent me a recipe link for it. I was awed by its simplicity and how a staple protein from my childhood was taken in such a direction.
At this point, I’ll tell you a bit about my relationship with canned corned beef. Being raised in a middle class white environment, corned beef was among the roster of sandwich fillers. Nothing really spectacular; warmed up, paired with mustard and maybe some sauerkraut and that was about it. The thing I remember most about it was the photorealistic painting of a hereford bull’s head on the can; weird, I know, but I was 5 years old. Kids are funny about what they remember.
Fast forward about 40 years or so and I’m walking through a local market’s canned goods aisle, looking for sardines and smoked oysters (two of my comfort foods). Lo and behold, I see the bull’s head glowering at me from the shelf…. On a whim, I bought a tin of it and some sauerkraut and headed for home, bound for a sentimental journey. Mainly to see if the memories of it had changed or not.
Of course, my sense of nostalgia led me to post a photo of the tin of my old lunch mate on social media. My island-hopping friend suggested I try the Bahamian fire engine instead of the ho-hum tinned meat sandwich option. I read the link and decided this was well worth a try; being the lover of a good corned beef breakfast has that I am. I need to tell you, dear reader: I was so pleasantly thrilled at how easy to cook this was and how rewardingly hearty it was to eat.
Now, I know some of you would say “But chef, why would I run out and pointedly purchase a tin of corned beef? Isn’t that a remnant of world war 2 rationing culture?” Because you’ll find it is well worth the few dollars to try this out. You may even come back and thank me like I did my salty sailor friend.
Bahamian fire engine
- frying pan
- 1 tin corned beef
- 1/2 onion diced
- 1 whole jalapeño diced (leave in the seeds; its way more fun)
- 1 Tbsp lime juice
- 1 tsp thyme
- 1/2 tsp jerk spice
- 1/2 tsp cajun spice
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp pepper
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- Dice the onion and jalapeño.
- Heat up a small-medium frying pan; add the oil.
- Once the oil gets hot, add the salt and pepper; stir it for about a minute and let the heat activate it.
- Add the onion and pepper dice; stir it until it begins to go transluscent (about 3 minutes).
- Add the remaining spices and lime juice; stir them in until evenly distributed.
- Add the corned beef and break it down by stirring it in. As it heats up, it will soften and blend with the other ingredients. This will take about 5 minutes or so.
- When done, serve it over rice and enjoy.