I didn't travel to St. Lucia for the food. I may be spoiled from years of dining in NYC but for me the Caribbean is more about a much needed break from the gray days of February than a culinary destination. This is not to knock local production. The bananas were the best I have eaten in my life: smaller, sweeter and packed with flavor! And the local beer, Piton, is a welcome addition to any meal. But for our vacation, the options weren't enough to pull me off the beach and get motivated to really sit down and properly dine. So, when my husband found a deal in town for what he described as a wonderful jerk chicken sandwich I wasn't overly optimistic but succumbing to his enthusiasm, I finally agreed to try it for lunch.
Two hours later, he was eagerly planning our day around this sandwich. I humored him as he gave time checks until he’d be taking his first bite. Then as he told me the time had drawn near with a smile on his face that one could only be described as ecstatic, I reluctantly pried my sundrenched body from its comfortable lounge chair and followed him into town. As we sat down, I was really not feeling hungry. Josh urged me to order something of my own but I said no, I simply wasn’t hungry; I would just have a bite of his sandwich. He asked again, but I politely declined saying I couldn’t possibly eat more than a bite.
Well that bite turned into two and then turned into me finishing half of his sandwich. My biggest crime; snatching some of the jerk chicken that had fallen on the plate which left his final bite as just two halves of a lackluster bun. It was just that good! Valentina later told me that my particular style of “sharing” was grounds for divorce. So, the dastardly wife that I am I figured I at least owed my husband a really good jerk chicken sandwich when we got home to New York.
The best thing about this recipe is it uses jerk marinade and hot sauce, my two favorite products from the Caribbean. Lucky for us, Baron’s International Kitchen sells a wickedly delicious version of both.
Jerk Chicken Sandwich
1/4 cup finely cubed pineapple
1 tablespoon minced jalapeno
3 tablespoons cubed yellow pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 teaspoons lime juice
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
Salt and freshly cracked pepper
1. Marinate chicken in Jerk Sauce for 30 minutes (this can also be done overnight).
2. Turn on broiler to high. Meanwhile, mix all ingredients of the pineapple relish in a medium bowl, season with salt and pepper and set aside.
3. Toast buns, then in a small bowl mix Caribbean hot sauce with mayonnaise.
4. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and set a wire rack on top. Lay chicken across rack and broil about 4 minutes per side (cook chicken until no longer pink).
5. Top with cheese and return for 1 minute to oven.
6. Dress buns with zesty mayo, lettuce and tomato.
7. Add jerk chicken and top with pineapple relish.
8. Serve with coleslaw, fries and either an ice-cold Piton or Rum Punch... and please, no sharing!