Wed | Aug 16, 2017

Succulent Sides

Published:Thursday | January 8, 2015 | 1:00 AM
Craig Harley Contributed Photo A freshly prepared tossed salad
Craig Harley Contributed Photo Potato salad given a touch of red by freshly cut tomato roses
Associated Press Corn with chili lime seasoning.
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Like Robin to Batman, a side dish is just as important as the main course; it complements it, the appetiser, and the dessert as well.

Side dishes are quite versatile, more popular in Jamaica than people think, and are often used as main courses or as a breakfast option.

Here are five tips on how to prepare Jamaican side dishes.

Tip 1: Side dishes should be light.

Side dishes should be easily digestible and not be as heavy as the main course, but instead complement it. And remember to leave room for dessert.

Tip 2: It is not wise to serve only a cold side dish.

This will detract from the taste of the main item. If you decide to go with a cold side dish, ensure that the meal is accompanied by a hot one as well.

Tip 3: Accompany dry sides with sauce or dip.

Dry sides such as baked potatoes should be accompanied by a sauce or a dip to add a bit of spice and flavour to the meal. The drier the side dish is the better the main course will taste.

Tip 4: Avoid serving both main course and side dish on the same plate.

One of the side dishes might taint the taste of the main course. instead, ensure the side has a distinguished, unique taste.

Tip 5: Avoid adding too much spices or herbs.

Side dishes are not wrought with spices and herbs. And since the sides do not include any meat kind, there is no need for plenty of spices or herbs.

Popular sides include potato salad, macaroni and cheese, tossed salad, pasta, corn on the cob, biscuits.

To put your culinary skills to the test, explore greener pastures on the side. Here are recipes for two of Jamaica's most prepared side dishes.

Jamaican Potato Salad

4 cups diced Irish potato

2 large whole eggs (optional)

1 box cow's milk (optional)

2 tablespoons margarine

1/4 cup carrot

1/4 cup corn

1/4 cup baby peas (blanched)

2 stalks chopped scallion (green onions)

1/2 stalk celery, diced (optional)

1 clove garlic, finely chopped

1 cup mayonnaise (to your liking)

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1/4 tsp salt

1/4 tsp black pepper

A tin of mix vegetable can replace other vegetables (if preferred)

Method

n Wash and peel then dice and cook potatoes and whole eggs for about 10 minutes.

n Drain potatoes instantly after boiled. Remove eggs and set in a bowl of cold water.

n Place potatoes in a large bowl, toss with margarine. Add carrot, corn, peas, scallion, milk, celery, and garlic. (Or mix vegetables).

n Stir in mayonnaise with garlic powder, salt, and pepper.

n Peel hard-boiled eggs and chop. Add to the potato mixture and stir lightly.

n Serve warm or cold.

Baked macaroni

and cheese

1/2 pound elbow macaroni

3 tsp butter

3 tsp flour

3 cups milk

1/2 cup onion (yellow, finely diced)

1 large egg

12 ounces cheddar cheese, shredded

1 tsp salt

Topping:

3 tsp butter

1 cup breadcrumbs

Directions

n Preheat oven to 3508F.

n In a large pot of boiling water, salted water cook the pasta to al dente.

While the pasta is cooking, melt the butter. Whisk in the flour for about five minutes. Avoid lumps. Stir in the milk and onion, and then simmer for 10 minutes.

Temper in the egg and stir in 3/4 of the cheese and add salt. Fold the macaroni into mix and pour into a 2-quart casserole dish. Top with leftover cheese.

Melt the butter in a sautÈ pan and toss the breadcrumbs to coat. Top with the bread-crumbs. Bake for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and rest for five minutes before serving.

cathy.risden@gleanerjm.com