Latin Twist: Sofrito — Latin Style Condiment and More!

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“Well, here in Santo Domingo it’s 85 and sunny!” That was one of the tropical-friend comments that I’ve received this week.

Yes, mis amigos, it’s not 85 and sunny here in New York. Au contraire, I’m looking at a winterwonderland as I type. But hey, winter will end eventually.

In the meantime, one way to bring on the sunshine is through our sips and bites! So, today I’m sharing my interpretation of a  condiment that is pretty popular throughout the Caribbean: sofrito.

 

The beauty of this tomato-pepper-onion-garlic sauce is not only its fabulous flavors, but also it’s flexibility. Sofrito can be a seasoning component (in soups, rice dishes, and more) as well as a topping (perfect  atop grilled meat or fish—and even veggies, like roasted or fried yuca!).  It’s also very versatile in terms of the spices you might want to incorporate.

By the way, sofrito’s name comes from the Spanish verb, sofreír, which means to lightly fry. AND, if you’d like to practice your Spanish
—and learn how to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with a Latin Twist —join me next Thursday morning at dawn (okay, between 6 and 7 am!) on Telemundo (Buenos Días Nueva York) and you’ll pick up tips in the language and culinary departments!

As always, mis amigos, I invite you to play with your food. Would love to hear your favorite sofrito, and how you use it! ¡Buen provecho! Enjoy!

Latin Twist: Sofrito — Latin Style Condiment and More!

Serving Size: Makes about one cup

Latin Twist: Sofrito — Latin Style Condiment and More!

Here's the sofrito before cooking! Check out the colors!

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup red onion, 1/4-inch dice
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 jalapeño pepper, minced (optional—I didn’t add it this time!)
  • 1 cup red bell pepper, 1/4-inch dice
  • 1 cup tomatoes, 1/4-inch dice
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tablespoon parsley, coarsely chopped

Instructions

  1. Heat butter over medium heat, add the onion and garlic, and cook 2 minutes.
  2. Add the jalapeños (if using) and peppers, cook 3 minutes, until onions and peppers start to soften.
  3. Add tomatoes, salt, pepper, sugar, lime juice, bay leaf, and parsley; simmer uncovered, until sauce is well blended and slightly reduced, 10 to 15 minutes.
  4. Add water, as needed, if it gets too dry.
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About Author

Maybe it was the dinner parties my mom always threw—or the hours I spent prepping and cooking alongside her (and then on my own!). Or maybe it was array of fabulous dishes that my family sampled in New York City’s richly diverse restaurants, but I’ve loved creating, savoring, and sharing food for as long as I can remember. Living in Spain, and later in Peru, also greatly influenced my life. These years abroad taught me Spanish—and about living in different countries--but also introduced me to teaching English as a second language, which I’ve done—mostly in the US-- for the past 20-plus (yikes!) years. I’ve authored two cocktail/tapas books, Mambo Mixers and Calypso Coolers, coauthored more than 15 others (mostly food related!), and raised two children. Now I'm chef and owner of my own restaurant, Mambo 64 in Tuckahoe, New York. My message is the same, whether I'm teaching, writing, running the restaurant or being a regular guest on the Spanish-language network Telemundo (on the morning show, Buenos Días Nueva York!). My belief in food—and the power of food—is far reaching, and is married with another one: the power of stories. I’m sure that if we could all sit down and have meals together, sharing both tastes and tales, we’d have peace on earth. Enjoy!

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