Island Barbecue by Dunstan Harris

119 pages; Color illustrations, No photographs of food. Hardcover
Chronicle Books, San Francisco 1995
Reviewed for Good Cooking by Eti Avidor 12/02

Caribbean barbecue is a new style of barbecue in American backyard cooking.It reminds us of some good memories from our Caribbean vacation.
Island Barbecue by Dunstan Harris is a basic cookbook on Caribbean barbecue, which starts with exiting stories about the author's childhood that make you enthusiastic about tryinghis recipes. The book gives you a basic knowledge of barbecue methods, equipment needed and tips on safety. The recipes are very well organized by category of food and easy to locate. The first few recipes are rubs, sauces and marinades that will repeat later as part of the recipes. You can prepare a full Caribbean feast that includes meats, vegetables, salads breads, desserts and beverages. The recipes are shorter than usual, they don't contain lots of ingredients, thus, they are very clear and easy to follow. The illustrations in the book are very beautiful but I wish I could have had some pictures of the finished recipes.

In conclusion I think this book is a good acquisition for a person who wants some variation in his barbecue flavors, with short preparation time.

I tried the Spicy Barbecue Tuna with Mango Salsa (pages 51, 36) Commercially bottled salsas now outsell ketchup in the U.S. In the state of Vermont, a place not known for hot foods, there are today a dozen salsa manufacturers. H. J. Heinz has even introduced a "salsa-style ketchup."

The usually chunky relish has recently been popularized in Mexican and southwest cooking, but we from the Islands have been mixing our own batches for decades. Incidentally, roughly translated from Spanish, salsa means "spicy sauce."

Mango Salsa

Yield: about 2 1/2 cups
1 firm, ripe mango, about 1 pound, peeled and finely chopped
1/2 medium-sized cucumber, peeled, seeded, and finely chopped
1/4 cup minced fresh cilantro
1 Scotch Bonnet or jalapeno pepper, stem removed, seeded, and minced
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
1/4 cup fresh tomato, seeded and finely chopped
2 tablespoons distilled white vinegar
1 teaspoon granulated sugar

Combine all ingredients in a bowl and leave at room temperature until ready for use. Excess salsa can be stored in a jar and refrigerated for a few days, but most of the ingredients will become soggy after that.

Spicy Barbecued Tuna with Mango Salsa
This is a great dish! The salsa, coconut, and ginger blended together give an exotic flavor.
Serves 6

1/3 cup red cooking wine
1/4 cup coconut oil
1 teaspoon powdered ginger
6 tuna steaks, each about 8 ounces and 3/4-inch thick
Mango Salsa recipe (page 36)

Mix wine, oil, and ginger together and marinate tuna steaks in a shallow dish for 1 hour, turning once. Reserve marinade.

Grill tuna steaks over hot coals for 4 minutes, basting with the reserved marinade. Turn and grill for another 4 minutes or until tuna segments begin to separate.

Transfer tuna to serving plates and spoon equal portions of mango salsa over each steak. Serve with a green salad, Grilled Plantain (page 87), and cold Red Stripe beer.

Good Cooking made this Ginger Beer for a friend from Jamaica. He said it was better than his mother's brew!

Ginger beer is one of those brews that is as old as the history of the islands. Everyone loves it and has a recipe handed down from a great-grandmother, and swears that theirs is the best and original formula. So popular is the ginger beer drink that several companies have packaged it commercially, adding carbonation. But nothing beats the home brew. And it's simple to make.

Ginger Beer

1 cup grated fresh ginger
2 tablespoons lime juice
2 cups brown sugar
1 quart boiling water
2 teaspoons active dry yeast
1/2 cup lukewarm water

In a large bowl, preferably earthenware, combine the ginger, lime juice, and sugar. Pour in the boiling water and stir well. In a smaller bowl, mix the yeast in the water. Let stand until it begins to bubble. When the yeast dissolves, pour into the ginger mixture.

Cover the bowl and leave at room temperature for a day. Strain, transfer to a bottle, and refrigerate. It will stay good for a week in the refrigerator before going flat. Ginger beer has a sting to it, but it's a refreshing, exotic drink. Serve icy cold at an outdoor barbecue party.

Yield: about 1 1/2 quarts