While not usually as elaborate as Christmas dinners, the Easter meal is a big part of the holiday. Though yummy chocolate eggs and hot cross buns are probably the first Easter foods to come to mind, there are many other foods that factor into a traditional Easter meal.
With this in mind, the Express stopped passers-by in downtown Port of Spain recently to find out what was on the menu this Easter.
From salt fish to provisions, red beans, macaroni pie and stewed chicken; these were some of the answers given by pedestrians.
Nickel Dick from Tobago admitted that she is usually not the one in the kitchen but says she looked forward to having her family's corn fish.
Kimlyn Boyce from Aranjuez said, "I love having hot cross buns for Easter but my mom usually cooks macaroni pie, callaloo, fish and green salad."
Marilyn Allan from Port of Spain said, "On Good Friday I would have some mackerel, provisions and callaloo. On Saturday maybe some dumplings, fish or stew chicken. Sunday, I would have macaroni pie, fish, green salad and red beans."
Mariela Claveri from El Socorro said, "Good Friday I usually have a lot of fresh fruit and juices. On Saturday I work but on Sunday I would do something more elaborate like vegetable rice, callaloo, stew chicken, macaroni pie and green salad."
For some this time is a very holy period, for others who are non-religious, it is a time to relax and enjoy the long weekend. Whatever one's motivation is this Easter, the dinner table is usually the place that brings everyone together.
Chef Simone Edwin from the Trinidad and Tobago Hospitality Institute (TTHTI) was happy to share some of her Easter recipes she hopes will inspire others to try something different in the kitchen.
Granny's Friday Fried Fish
You will need:
• Any fish of your choice (king fish, carite, and flying fish would be best in this instance)
• Salt and black pepper
• Scotch bonnet pepper
• Vegetable oil
• All-purpose flour
1. Chop pimentos, celery, garlic, and scotch bonnet pepper together in a blender. Slowly drizzle oil into the mixture, so a paste is made. Add salt and black pepper to taste.
2. Rub paste onto the fish and let marinate for about two hours.
3. Heat oil in a large pot until very hot.
4. In the meantime, coat fish with flour, dusting off any excess.
5. Carefully place flour-dusted fish into oil. Let fry until golden brown and crisp.
6. Remove from oil after cooking, and let drain on grease-proof paper, or paper towels.
Tip: To maintain the taste of the fish, using limes or lemons is not necessary. Fish just needs light seasoning, so that the original taste is not over powered. The "Trini" thing to do is to use the entire lime tree when seasoning fish to get rid of the freshness. However, ensure when purchasing fish, the eyes are bright and bulging, the fish does not have a slimy feel to it and does not have any bruised or off-colour spots. If the right fish is bought, you need not worry about having to use lime juice to cut the freshness.
According to Edwin, the task of preparing such a grand meal could be somewhat intimidating to the average cook. The trick she says, of having a successful outcome is by creating a Mise En Place (French for "everything in its place") a few days before, so that there is a smooth flow when cooking begins.
She said, "Many times I would hear my friends say, 'Ay I coming by you for Easter lunch eh'! when they realise the daunting task before them, and because they knew the kind of goodies that could be expected at my home."
According to Edwin, simple things like knowing what type of meat you want to serve on the day, or what side/sides and even desserts, could be prepared beforehand and stored properly can save you time and makes things easier.
Glorious Saturday/Easter Sunday Menu
Tip: Meats can be marinated or prepared 3-4 days