We Gatherin’ is a homecoming symbolizing a recommitment to the core Barbadian values and its celebration culminated in November, reaching a climax in December 2020. Such a homecoming jubilee tradition wouldn’t be the same without some proper food, and this is why some of the most inventive master chefs had the job of recreating the authentic flavor of Barbados with signature Bajan dishes.
Barbados Traditional Dishes that Many Love
When many think of Bajan cuisine dishes an octopus salad and seafood chowder come to mind. However, Barbados has so much to offer, and the following chefs made sure to present their classic dishes in a mouth-watering way.
Executive Chef Javon Cummins
Chef Cummins works at the Tapestry Restaurant, and he was delighted to be part of the We Gatherin’ Barbados 2020 edition. His menu offered locals and visitors authentic Bajan meals with a contemporary flair that showcases the future of the local cuisine. Here are some of his most iconic dishes:
- Textures of Cou Cou – an enticing blend of poached flying fish, smoked herring, cornmeal ball, and okra bring out the true fish flavor.
- Deconstructed Souse – a seared pork belly paired with beetroot and sweet potato pudding and cucumber or how a street food classic is brought to another level.
- Soursop Sorbet – a lovely refinement of a Barbados traditional soursop punch consisted of a puree of lemon, cinnamon stick, and sugar.
Executive Chef Alisha Dawn Stoute
At the restaurant where she works (ECO Restaurant), the staff is environmentally-friendly oriented and tries to bring awareness to eating healthy, fresh, and sustainable food on the Barbados island. Her signature dishes include:
- Tempura Sea Purslane – an original creation consisted of coastal weed, cassava flour, and a vitamin-rich secret ingredient.
- Bajan Spice Truffle Lobster Mac Pie – Inspired by her dad’s recipe, Stoute came up with a high-protein pie consisting of a Caribbean spiny lobster, cheese, and truffle.
- Bajan Golden Apple Pie – another pie but on the sweet side combines in heavenly way apples, butter, sugar, and spices.
Executive Chef Trevon Stoute
Celebrating the first year of the Barbados hotel Pavão which translates as peacock from Portuguese, chef Stoute came up with the following traditional dishes that create an international profile:
- Saigon Duck Pudding – confit duck leg presented with carrots, and red cabbage in Asian rice wraps mix the traditional Bajan cuisine with a global, well0rounded taste.
- Festa de Gaúcho – a chargrilled aged prime ribeye with truffle steak cut fries, asparagus, and mushrooms to please every beef lover.
- Manor Pillow Dessert – a sponge cake with Belgian chocolate accompanied by ice cream and passion fruit coulis is where Barbados meets Belgian culture for a sweet childhood memory.
How do roasted vegetables (potatoes, zucchini, eggplants, onions, and tomatoes) with a bunch of spices, garlic, some greens, and a generous drizzle of olive oil sound to you? If you’re thinking of Ratatouille, you’re wrong! That’s right, today’s recipe calls for Greece’s briam, and it’s a text-book Mediterranean diet.
Which Came First, Briam or Ratatoillle?
There is quite the debate on whether briam should be called the Greek ratatouille or ratatouille should be the called French briam. Truth is, nobody knows for sure which recipe came first, but it doesn’t matter. Both dishes represent a perfect take on roasted vegetables, although, in some parts of France, people like to use the stovetop to prepare their ratatouille.
Of course, the Greek briam recipe has hundreds of variations, but this one comes from the island of Patmos.
- 1 ¼ lb gold potatoes (3-4 medium-sized)
- 1 ¼ lb zucchini squash (2-3 regular-sized)
- 1 ¼ lb eggplants (optional, 2 regular-sized)
- 2 tsp dried oregano
- ½ cup chopped fresh parsley
- 4 garlic cloves (minced)
- Greek extra virgin olive oil (any other would do but let’s try to be traditional)
- 30-oz canned diced tomatoes with juice (unsalted and organic products are recommended)
- 1 large red onion
- Salt and Pepper
As stated above, this Greek classic varies by region, so feel free to adjust the ingredients by adding or removing other veggies and spices. For example, replacing the potatoes with bell pepper would make this dish even lower in carbs. A dash of piney rosemary would give it a pleasant kick, and serving this with feta cheese would make a huge difference.
Preparing the Briam
For presentation purposes, this exact recipe calls for thinly sliced veggies and a round pan or skillet (11-inch would do). However, this recipe works great with thicker chunk cuts roasted in a square casserole, especially if time is pushing you.
- Preheat the oven to 400 F and place a rack in the middle.
- Season and toss the veggies with salt, pepper, oregano, (and other spices of your choice).
- Pour half of the canned tomatoes into your pan or skillet and spread to cover the bottom.
- Arrange the rest of the veggies into the pan
- Top with a generous drizzle of olive oil, minced garlic, and the rest of the tomatoes.
- Bake for 45 minutes covered with foil
- Remove foil and bake for another 30 to 40 minutes until most of the liquid evaporates and veggies look soft and charred.
- Cool to room temperature and serve.