An acquaintance of mine called Hector, who lives in Tampa and owns a real estate appraisal company, shared via phone a few nifty cooking tips from his Puerto Rican heritage. If you’ve never cooked Puertorriqueno before, well, it’s fairly simple and always tasty. In his own words, Hector revealed a few basics that will complement whatever Caribbean main dish you choose to prepare:
Keep it simple. Garlic, olive oil, and water. Get lots of garlic and put in a blender. Add a little olive oil, and some water, but not too much. Blend it until it becomes a paste. You can keep it in a container in the fridge and add a little more water to make salad dressing, or keep it as is and use for cooking (like in the recipe below).
Green Plantain Mofongo
Make sure the plantains are the green kind. Peel them up nicely, and dip in saltwater. Just a little! Drip dry, and while they are drying, heat some olive oil in a pan. When they’re done drying, fry them nice and crisp.
You’ll need a mortar and pestle for this next step. Put the fried plantains in the mortar, and mash them up, sort of going up the sides of the mortar; then add some of the garlic sauce, fried pork or shrimp, salt and pepper, and kind of squish it together in the middle of the plantains. Fold the plantain mixture over the filling and scoop into little balls, then re-fry. These must be eaten while hot. Muy sabroso!