One of the most popular dishes in Trinidad is shark and bake, a shark steak marinated in “seasoning,” a tangy tincture of chiles and West Indian herbs, then deep-fried and served on a puffy pillow of fried bread, called a bake. The combination is so flavorful that Trinidadians eat it for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and between-meal snacks.
Makes 8 bakes
Method: Direct grilling
- 1 tablespoon active dry yeast
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter. melted (slightly cooled), plus more for brushing the bakes
- 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, plus more as needed
- 1/2 cup whole wheat flour (or more white flour)
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 1/4 teaspoons sea salt
- 2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds (optional)
1: At least 2 hours before you plan to grill, make the dough for the bakes: Combine the yeast, sugar, and 1/2 cup warm water in a large bowl and stir until the yeast and sugar dissolve. Let the yeast mixture stand until foamy, 5 to 10 minutes, then stir in 3/4 cup of warm water and 3 tablespoons of cooled melted butter.
2: Place the flour, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl and whisk to mix. Make a well in the center and add the yeast mixture. Stir with a wooden spoon. Once the dough begins to come together in a shaggy mass, use your hands to knead it until smooth and elastic, forming a stiff but moist dough, adding more flour as necessary (you can also make the dough in a food processor or mixer fitted with a dough hook). The dough should be moister than conventional bread dough but not so wet that you can’t roll it. Form the dough into a ball. Drizzle a little olive oil into a large glass bowl and add the dough ball, turning to coat the ball with oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap, place it in a warm draft-free spot, and let the dough rise until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour.
3: Meanwhile, set up the grill for direct grilling and heat to high.
4: Punch the dough down. Roll the dough into a thick rope. Divide the dough into 8 equal pieces and roll each into a ball. Dust the balls with flour. Working on a liberally floured work surface with a floured rolling pin, roll each dough ball out to a circle 5 inches in diameter and 1/4-inch-thick.
5: When ready to grill the bakes, brush and oil the grill gate. Lightly brush the top of the bakes with melted butter and arrange them, buttered side down, on the grill grate. Then brush the top side of the bake with butter.
6: Grill the bakes until blistered and lightly browned, 2 to 4 minutes per side, turning them with a long spatula. Brush again with butter and sprinkle with sesame seeds, if desired. Keep the bakes warm in a bread basket lined with a towel.
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