Ensalada Cubana

Spring is here and the weather is getting warmer! With that comes cooler food, like salads, especially salads with a twist.

Came across the recipe of a Cuban salad (ensalada cubana) when I was looking for something original for a potluck. My husband has this awesome Cuban cookbook, where I got the inspiration for this recipe. This was different because the dressing is made with hot oil, to soften the onion and garlic flavor. That is one technique I had never used before, a “stir fry” approach to a salad! The original recipe included shrimp, but I left out the shrimps and bell pepper, and gave it my own spin. The result? A delicious salad, without the pungent onion smell or flavor. I know, onions are great for cooking and salads, but raw onions upset my stomach so this was the perfect solution for me. Definitely making this again!


Ensalada Cubana
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  • 1/2 cup EVOO (extra virgin olive oil)
  • 1 cup diced red onion
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1/3 cup lemon or lime juice
  • salt & pepper
  • 1 green bell pepper cut in chunks (left out in my version)
  • 4 large red ripe tomatoes sliced thin or
  • (1 cup baby tomatoes, halved)
  • 1 cup cucumber, cubed or sliced
  • cilantro, chopped
  • (Optional: 1 cup chick peas)


  1. Heat oil (don't let it smoke), add onion, garlic and juice. (Add chick peas if using.) Remove pan from heat and stir for two minutes. Let the mixture cool off, season with salt & pepper and refrigerate until ready to use.
  2. Blanch bell pepper, arrange with tomatoes and cucumber on a platter, drizzle (or toss) with dressing, sprinkle some cilantro on top before serving.



Tasty Jamaican Jerk Chicken

Jamaican Jerk Chicken


If you like spicy food, you should try Jamaican Jerk Chicken. It’s a different kind of hot & spicy than Javanese or Curry chicken, because the ‘burn’ is not only coming from the peppers. Although some of the spices used are found in all three recipes, the combination of allspice, cloves and nutmeg, add more heat to this dish. The recipe below serves 4, but  the seasoning can be used as a rub on fish, pork, goat, and vegetables too. Just remember that meat should marinade at least 6 hours or overnight.


Jamaican Jerk Chicken

6 tbsp packed light brown sugar
6 tbsp ground allspice
1/3 cup minced scallions or onions
2 tbsp oil
2 1/2 tbsp ground black pepper
2 tbsp salt
2 tbsp ginger, minced
2 tbsp lime juice
1 tbsp soy sauce
1/2 tbsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp grated nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground cloves
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 habanero chile, minced
3 lb chicken

Mix all ingredients, except chicken, in a bowl to make the jerk seasoning.

Add chicken and toss to coat in the jerk marinade. Cover with plastic wrap; chill at least 6 hours, or overnight.

The meat can be grilled on a charcoal or gas grill, but Jerk chicken can also be made in a cast-iron grill pan over medium-high heat. An alternative way is to bake the chicken on a foil-lined baking sheet at 350° until done.

Add chicken, skin side down; cook, turning once, until marinade forms a crust on the outside, about 8 minutes. Cover grill or pan and continue to cook until the chicken is done, about 40 minutes.

Serve with rice and steamed cabbage.

Bon apetit!


Everything cook and curry man! (Jamaican slang for “everything is fine”)


Photo by Vicky in CT