St Lucia CuisineSt. Lucia Lite
Jade Mountain is an instant fix to the claustrophobic nature of city living: After a few hours relaxing into the beauty of the island, you start to feel a slow buzz of energy and, eventually, hunger, brought on by the fresh air – and complete lack of stress. But, the good news is that the Zen atmosphere encourages healthy cravings, so our menu is St. Lucia Lite – a mashup of spa cuisine, the island’s local ingredients, and tropical flavors.
Jerk chicken or fish is a must-have when traveling in the Caribbean; with every bite, the slow heat accumulates but its dark, addictive crust encourages you to keep eating. Our version uses the milder Habanero peppers instead of Scotch Bonnet, which are super hot – use either depending on your comfort level with spicy food. These peppers are serious, so use plastic gloves when cutting and seeding them and don’t rub your eyes or face until you’ve taken them off.
Yield: 4 servings
In a food processor or blender add Habanero, allspice, cinnamon, sugar, mustard, soy sauce, and 2 tablespoons olive oil. Puree until smooth. Rub over tuna steaks, cover, and marinate for 10 minutes.
Slice avocado in half and remove seed. Scoop out meat and add to clean food processor or blender. Add sour cream, mayonnaise, and lime juice. Season with salt and puree until smooth. Transfer sauce to a squeeze bottle and refrigerate.
Lightly season tuna with salt. In a large sauté pan on high heat add 1/2 tablespoon oil. When oil is shimmering but not smoking, add 2 tuna steaks. Sear 2 minutes on either side. Remove from pan and repeat process with 2 additional steaks.
Slice tuna and fan onto individual serving plates. Lightly squeeze sauce over plates and serve.
Coconut and curry – two staples of St. Lucian cuisine – are ingredients that were meant to be together, just like chocolate and peanut butter, and gin and vermouth. Chicken legs have much more flavor and texture when grilled than breasts, but if you prefer white meat, it’s fine to substitute.
Yield: 4 servings
In a large Ziploc bag add oil, garlic, curry powder, cayenne pepper, and mix. Add chicken and marinate in refrigerator for at least 2 hours and up to 6.
Preheat grill to 375˚F. Remove chicken from bag and season with salt. Brush grill with oil and place chicken on grill. Grill on either side until cooked through, about 9–10 minutes per side. Garnish with minced cilantro.
In a medium saucepan, add coconut milk and bring to a boil. Add oil and rice and boil for 1 minute. Reduce to a simmer, cover tightly, and cook until tender, about 45 minutes. Cut pineapple into 1/2-inch thick pieces and add to rice. Season with salt.
Grilling lobster on a beach with a Piton in hand is quintessential St. Lucia. Spiny lobsters are local, abundant, and just plain delicious. Sweet potatoes are prominent in the island diet; here, the puree acts as a kind of sauce for the meat. Spiny lobsters can be hard to track down, so feel free to substitute Maine lobster instead. Regardless of what kind you prepare, be careful not to overcook the meat or it will be tough, dry, and disappointing.
Yield: 4 servings
In a small bowl, add butter, chervil, and lemon zest. Season with pepper. Using a rubber spatula, mix ingredients until evenly distributed. Place butter on a sheet of parchment paper and roll into a thin, even tube. Twist edges of parchment tightly on both sides and refrigerate.
Preheat grill to 375˚F and brush with oil.
To kill the lobsters, point the edge of a chef’s knife to the center of its head behind the eyes. In a quick motion, slice down and bring your knife completely through the head. Slice the lobster in half lengthwise and remove the tomalley, which is the green portion of the cavity containing the liver. Season with salt and pepper and place them shell side down on the grill. Grill until just cooked through, about 8 minutes depending on the size of the lobster. Cut thin slices of chervil butter and place on top of lobster meat.
Preheat oven to 400˚F. Pierce sweet potatoes with a knife several times and place in oven. Bake until soft and cooked through, about 45 minutes depending on its size.
Scoop meat out of skin and place in food processor or blender. Add butter and allow it to melt. Add milk, season with salt, and puree until smooth.
We avoid evening sugar binges with this dish, which resembles ice cream in almost every way minus the fat, calories, and guilt. The key is to use very ripe bananas, which are naturally high in sugar. Before they turn too brown, peel them, slice them and throw them in a Ziploc bag in the freezer.
Yield: 3 servings
In the bowl of a Vitamix blender or food processor add bananas, cinnamon, honey, lemon zest, and 1/4 cup milk. Puree until smooth, about 30 seconds.