Monday, August 8, 2011

Recipe: Recaito

A KTW CSA member shared this recipe.

The onions and abundance of green peppers immediately made me think of
making recaito, which is the base for nearly all Puerto Rican cuisine.
Recaito, much like pesto sauce, can be kept frozen for extended
periods of time and adds a great deal of flavor to any dish. This
recipe was passed down from my mother and I'm sharing it here.
WARNING: This has a very intensely delicious smell and flavor and you
will get hungry when making it.

1 onion (Spanish yellow or white)
8 cloves of garlic
2 red or green peppers (or one of each)
4 ajicito peppers*
1 bunch of cilantro
4 leaves of recao a.k.a. culantro**

Remove all the seeds from the peppers. Peel and chop the onion and add
all ingredients to the food processor and process until smooth (like a
pesto sauce). Pack it in 1/2 cup size portions and freeze.

*Ajicito pepper a.k.a. aji dulce pepper can be found at Caribbean
Fruit & Veggie markets and are usually packaged in shrink wrapped
trays. There are several markets along Church/Ocean Avenues near the Q
train station that sell these peppers and recao (listed below). A
google search will help you visually identify this pepper. You can
substitute with a small cubanelle pepper.

**Recao/Culantro can also be found at Caribbean markets or Vietnamese
markets. It can be hard to find but you can substitute an additional
1/2 bunch of cilantro in it's place. Google search this herb
beforehand to identify. Warning: This may smell similar to cilantro
but is about 10 times as potent so use in moderation. If you have
leftover recao you can use it in soups or stews as you would a bay

What can you do with Recaito?
Rub it into meat for roasting, rub it onto chicken or pork chops, use
it as a base for making Spanish yellow rice, mix it into guacamole to
give it a savory flavor, add it to mashed potatoes, mix it into your
taco filling, add it to soups/stews and chili. Basically, any dish
that can benefit from the flavor of onion, garlic and cilantro, can be
jazzed up with a spoonful (or two or three) of recaito.

Here is a link to some recipes which all recaito:


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