The Virgin Islands, St.Croix in particular has always had deep ties with the neighboring island of Puerto Rico for centuries, our food and culture are a reflection of that relationship. Growing up in St.Croix whilst having strong family ties to Puerto Rico means that we used and still continue to cook with a few staples in la cocina. Don’t believe me? Two words: Adobo y Recaito. Listen. If it ain’t in the pot meen want it okay? Adobo and Recaito/Sofrito are seasonings (dry and wet respectively) that are used in Puerto Rican cooking. European chefs have their mirepoix, we have Recaito. This blend of leaves from the recao plant (cousin of cilantro), onions and peppers is the base of many a dish. It can easily be found in the grocery, Goya and Bahia, which are two of the most popular brand can be found in your seasoning aisle, usually stateside and abroad it will be found in the international foods aisle. But here en el caribe, it’s front and center in the spice aisle. You can also find it in the frozen food aisle near the other international food items, in my opinion frozen is the way to go if you buy it in the grocery store, less preservatives…and all that jazz.
Recaito is relatively easy to make, I grew up watching my mom and her friends making it from scratch when they harvested their own recao and peppers from their gardens. You can add whatever you like within reason but I keep to the standard recipe and add a twist. I roast my veggies before blending to bring out the flavor. To me it adds another level of depth to the recaito.
I usually make a big batch in my Ninja blender and then place in jars and plastic containers. My jars are small so that’s what I use first, the rest is placed in the freezer until I run out.I use recaito in all my bean, rice, and stewed meat dishes. It also pops up in many of my other kitchen experiments as well. Have you ever tried recaito/sofrito? What’s your favorite dish to use it in?