Chef’s Tip: Jack D’Angelo of Don Coqui in New Rochelle Knows How To Fry Crisp Tostones


My name is Donna Monaco Olsen, co-coordinator for the Taste of Westchester Continuing Education program for Westchester Community College. The classes are held in restaurants all over Westchester, and local chefs share their secrets and recipes with the class in their own dining rooms. Over the years, I have attended hundreds of classes, and I always learn something new, and I’m here to share what I’ve learned with you.

Chef: Jack D’Angelo
Restaurant: Don Coqui, New Rochelle
Tip: To get tostones extra crispy, fry them twice, and between the steps, smash them and dip them in water.

Chef Jack D’Angelo taught us a thing or two about Puerto Rican cooking (just like his grandma’s) at Don Coqui in New Rochelle. This class was hands-on in a state of the art kitchen, where we actually got to prepare the whole meal from start to finish. To make tostones, we started by slicing green plantains on the bias. They were fried twice, and after the first frying, we dipped them in water and then fried them again at a higher oil temperature. We also made shrimp sautéed in Adobo (garlic, oregano, and spices mixed with salt) and sofrito (a combination of aromatic ingredients consisting of garlic, onions, and tomatoes which  were ground in the blender), which became a garnish for our tostones. What a treat!

The 411 on Don Coqui.

Want to go to a class yourself? Check out the current offerings at Continuing Ed, Taste of Westchester. Sign up with a friend for one demo or a few by contacting WCC via online or by phone 606-6830 x1. Hope to see you there!

There is still time to sign up for this week’s classes:

Chutney Masala Indian Bistro, Irvington,
Kitchen Visit: Discover our chef’s hidden secrets in a waterfront setting down on the Hudson River. Chef Navjot and Anu, a husband and wife duo, create all the dishes at Chutney Masala. Navjot is from Jalandhar Punjab, India where he studied the fine art of Indian food at the culinary institute. On the menu will be bhajjia, chickpea flour dusted veggie fritters; amritsari macchi, gram flour dusted crispy tilapia; chicken tikka masala atop basmati rice pulao, a long grain Himalayan pilaf; and saab panel. We will also enjoy a lesson on nan bread.
Wed., Oct. 17, 6:00-8:00 pm, $15 (+ $20 sampling fee, payable to instructor). #83091

Peter Pratt’s Inn, Yorktown Heights,
This colonial homestead, built in 1780, has been a local inn dating back to 1926, in an area with historical presence serving as General Washington’s command post. A special place to dine, it has been producing fabulous creations from master chef and owner Jonathon Pratt, having taken over for his father, Peter, in the kitchen. This chef knows “a thing or two” about duck, and will create a “duck lover’s delight” by teaching us the makings of a delicious kabocha squash gnocchi with a moulard duck confit in a light sage cream sauce. We will follow with a seared rohan duck breast with local sour cherry sauce, atop a beautiful farro risotto, and micro salad. For the dessert tutorial, the chef will entertain us with a lesson on duck egg crème brulee. This class is an old favorite so sign up quickly to reserve your spot.
Thurs., Oct. 18, 7:00-9:00 pm, $15 (+ $30 sampling fee, payable to instructor). #83092


About Author

As a contributing blogger and the author of "Chef’s Tip", Donna Monaco Olsen recaps great cooking demonstrations from local restaurants. As the the coordinator for Westchester Community College’s Continuing Education program, named “A Taste of Westchester,” she writes the program, which offers more than 35 cooking classes each semester, and recruits chefs to do cooking demonstrations in their restaurants. She holds a full time position in the education field, and in her off time develops and contributes recipes for cookbooks. She is an avid baker and a former cake decorator who created many custom designed specialty cakes. Along with her husband, she reviews restaurants on Small Bites during Hudson Valley Restaurant Week.

1 Comment

  1. Donna does an absolutely amazing job putting together these classes offered by WCC. They are informative, social and most importantly — DELICIOUS! I love that some chefs are doing hands-on classes – my favorites. It’s a great opportunity to try out a new restaurant or enjoy an old favorite and get to experience some of the behind the scenes magic straight from the chef. What better way to spend a Thursday evening than having Jonathan Pratt of Peter Pratt’s Inn cooking up all things duck. It’s a don’t miss event!

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