Puerto Rico baby!
I would like you to meet my friend Andrea. She first introduced me to Puerto Rican food 5 years ago and I have been hooked ever since. The thing about her cooking is that the flavors are so unique and so addicting. The bacalau salad is probably the only food where I have woken up in the night to go eat more. Or, got up first thing in the morning to have as breakfast. Once you have a taste for it, you can never go back.
The cuisines of Spain, Taino (pre-columbian inhabitants), Arawaks, Amerindians, and parts of the African continent have had an impact on how food is prepared in Puerto Rico. Although Puerto Rican cooking is somewhat similar to both Spanish and Latin American cuisine, it is a unique blend of influences, using indigenous seasonings and ingredients. The Caribbean holds much pride in their food but Puerto Rico is known for the finest food in the Caribbean.
Andrea spent the first part of her life in New York city, which after reading some of the history of Puerto Rican emigration is not surprising. During WWII, there was a massive influx of Puerto Rican people arriving in New York looking for work and a new life in. Andrea remembers her dad using the very familiar term that is shared by all Puerto Ricans who immigrated to New York, “I am Nuyorican baby”. Nuyoricans resided in Spanish Harlem, East Village, and South Bronx.
Today, Andrea has a love for Puerto Rican food that has been passed down to her from many, many aunties, grandmas, and the rich Puerto Rican community. I am so glad to be able to experience just a touch of this and I am thrilled to share some of it with you.
The other day, we made: Bacalao/Bacalau salad (cod fish salad), fried plantains, stuffed tostones and Grandma’s Spanish rice (seriously copied from her memory as she had no recipe). Today, we will do the salad and the fried plantains. So here we go, lets cook. Here is the recipe.
Begin by taking your prepared Codfish( see recipe in the seafood section) and mixing it with the oil and vinegar mixture, adding onion and keeping it cold while you cut up the other toppings.
Layer egg on top of fish. Next, add your tomato, avocado (we forgot for this pic) and cilantro.
A completed Puerto Rican bacalau salad. It looks simple but it is AMAZING!!! The complete recipe is in the Friends catagory.
Next, lets make the fried plantains:
Find some green plantains, I got mine at Superstore. The green ones are not quite ripe but are necessary. Cut them up according to the following pictures:
Make a slice down the side and carefully remove the thick peel off the plantain.
Slice the plantains diagonally into 1-inch pieces
Heat about 1/2-inch of oil in a heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Add half the plantain slices to the hot oil and fry, turning frequently, until they begin to brown on all sides. Remove to a paper-towel-lined plate and repeat with the remaining slices.
When all the slices have been fried, use a glass or small plate to press each slice to a thickness of about 1/3-inch.Return half the flattened slices to the hot oil and fry again on each side until well browned and crispy. Drain on paper towels and repeat with the remaining flattened slices.
My friend Andrea uses a plantain press. I have looked everywhere and cannot find one. We non-puerto ricans will have to use plates.
Flatten the plantain between two plates and return to the frying pan to cook and brown for another few minutes. When the plantains are nice and crispy brown, put them a plate with paper towel and season with garlic salt or garlic powder and salt. Keep them warm in the oven while you continue cooking. When they are all done, pull out of oven and get ready for the taste sensation of you life!!!
Please note again, the full recipes will be posted in the friends Page.