Prep 10 mins
Cook 3 mins
There really is no translation for this mixture of onion, garlic, peppers and green herbs. Recao is culantro in Puerto Rican-speak, so this seasoning is called recaito, or "little culantro." You can buy it in bottles in some ethnic grocery stores but why? when it's so simple to make. Use in dishes like Cuban black beans or Puerto Rican style pot roast, where you want the flavor but not the color or extra liquid that you have in a sofrito. Culantro is the defining flavor.
- 1 medium Spanish onion, cut into big chunks
- 8 garlic cloves, peeled
- 6 ajies dulces, hot peppers, cored, seeded, and cut into chunks or 1 cubanelle pepper, cored, seeded, and cut into chunks
- 4 leaves culantro (if you can't find culantro, increase the amount of cilantro by half)
- 1 cup packed fresh cilantro, stems and all, coarsely chopped
- Place the onion and garlic in the work bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade.
- With the motor running, add the remaining ingredients, one at a time and process, until the mixture is smooth.
- Set aside the amount you need for the recipe you're preparing.
- Pack the remaining recaito in ½-cup portions in sealable plastic bags and store in freezer.
- *** Cooks notes:
- *** Ajices Dulces, also known as cachucha or ajicitos are tiny sweet peppers with a hint of heat. They range in color from light to medium green and yellow to red and orange. They add freshness and an herby note to anything you cook. Do not mistake them for Scotch bonnet or Habanero chilies (which they look like)--those two pack a wallop when it comes to heat.
- *** Culantro is not cilantro. It has long leaves with tapered tips and serrated edges. When it comes to flavor, culantro is like cilantro times ten.
I've not had store-bought recaito so I can't compare this to that, but I thought this made an excellent addition to the Puerto Rican bean dish I made last night. Because I've got plenty left over, I'm scouring Recipezaar for recipes that call for it. I'll definitely use this recipe again when I need more recaito on hand.