There are lots of variations on this classic, all-purpose seasoning paste from Jamaica. Everyone will agree, though, that allspice, garlic, thyme, and lots of Scotch bonnet or habanero chiles are absolute must-haves for a good jerk paste. A little bit really goes a long, long way. Just a few tablespoons will season a large chicken, 2 pounds large shrimp, 2 pork tenderloins, a 6-pound pork shoulder (bone-in), a large flank steak or 2 pounds skirt steak, or 2 to 3 whole 2-pound fish. Chicken and meat can marinate in it overnight, but fish and shellfish are fine with just a few hours.
- Yield: 2/3 cup
- 4 large garlic cloves, peeled
- 4 scallions (white and tender green parts), cut into 1-inch pieces
- 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
- 1 Scotch bonnet chile, seeded
- One 1-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and coarsely chopped
- 2 tablespoons distilled white vinegar
- 1 tablespoon water
- 1 tablespoon firmly packed dark brown sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- Combine the garlic, scallions, thyme, chile, ginger, vinegar, water, brown sugar, allspice, and nutmeg in a blender or food processor and pulse into a fine paste. Season with salt.