Wednesday, July 3, 2013

One Great . . . handy summer sauce

Since I'm off next week, I wanted to leave an extra recipe. And after the mojo marinade I posted earlier, it seemed like a good time for summer two-fer.

In Spanish, sofrito means to lightly fry, and that's pretty much what you do" Chop of the ingredients, saute them lightly and use the mix as a flavoring base. But that's just the start of it. It's used all over the Caribbean, particularly in Puerto Rico, and the ingredients can vary from mostly tomatoes to mostly peppers. I've seen red versions and green versions.

The uses are endless, too: As a base for a soup, stirred into rice and peas, mixed with mayonnaise for a sandwich spread. I love to use a couple of tablespoons to flavor canned black beans for a fast side dish.

When the ingredients are available in summer, make a big batch, put it in a freezer bag, flatten it out and freeze it. Then you can break off chunks to use all year.

Red Sofrito

2 pounds plum (Roma) tomatoes
2 red bell peppers
2 onions
4 to 6 cloves garlic, smashed and peeled
1 cup cilantro leaves with some stems
1/2 cup olive oil
1 teaspoon salt, or to taste

CUT the stems out of the tomatoes and coarsely chop. Core, seed and chop the peppers and chop the onions. Place in a food processor with the garlic and cilantro. Pulse until finely chopped.

HEAT olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Stir in the vegetable mixture and reduce heat to medium. Cook, stirring occasionally, until it's thickened into a sauce, about 25 minutes. Cool, then refrigerate up to 2 weeks or place in a freezer bag and freeze.

YIELD: About 3 cups.