Pickled Ají Dulce
F & A Horti Products
Graduated with honors from the Culinary Institute of America, Chef Juan José Cuevas began his career in 1995 at the 3 Michelin Star rated restaurant Arkelare in San Sebastián, Spain. After dedicating his time in different European and American cities, Chef Cuevas arrived in New York, where he earned a four-star rating from The New York Times. He also achieved a 3-star rating at the Blue Hill Restaurant, one Michelin Star at Restaurant 81, and 3 Stars at the Pluckemin Inn in Bedminster, New Jersey.
Today Chef Juan José Cuevas is the Executive Chef at 1919, located at the Vanderbilt Hotel in Condado, Puerto Rico.
1 cups coarse cornmeal
3 cups coconut milk
2 cups water
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 cup Capaez cheese or parmesan or comte
3 tablespoon butter
*For a vegan alternative: Do not include cheese.
Funche: Food from towns in the south of the Island, was a reference to the food that the population ate when local agriculture began.
Capaez cheese: alpine style, similar to Gruyere. From Hatillo, PR Vaca Negra
Bring water, coconut milk and salt to a boil in saucepan; pour polenta slowly into boiling liquid, whisking constantly until all polenta is mixed in.
Reduce heat to low and simmer, whisking often, until polenta starts to thicken, about 5 minutes. Cover and cook for 25 minutes, whisking every 5 to 6 minutes. Polenta is done when texture is creamy and the individual grains are tender.
Turn off heat and gently stir butter into polenta; mix capaez cheese into polenta until cheese has melted. Cover and let stand 5 minutes to thicken; stir and taste for salt before transferring to a serving bowl.
1 ounce salted cod (here at the restaurant we use “bushe de bacalao” also called “callos de bacalao”)
2 cups cooked chickpeas
1 cup medium diced eggplant, once diced toss with 1 tablespoon of salt and let it drain for 20 minutes
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 oz onion, finely diced
2 oz cubanelle pepper, finely diced
4 aji dulce, red if possible (habanada, Trinidad, fruit aroma, citrusy), finely diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
10 oz crushed tomatoes
Pinch chili flakes
1 pinch Spanish saffron threads
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 garlic clove, minced
2 tablespoons sherry or red wine vinegar
Sea Salt to taste
1 pickled ají dulce (included in your box)
* For a vegetarian option: do not include cod fish.
The day before the event, put the cod in a large bowl, cover with water, and refrigerate for 36 hours, changing the water at least 3 times to remove the salt. When changing the water, however, reserve about one-third of the soaking liquid so the fish will retain some of the salty flavors. (The soaking time needed to release the salt from the fish may vary depending on the thickness of your salt cod). Drain the cod and cover with water, bring to a boil and let simmer for about 15 minutes, set aside.
Heat the olive oil in a small sauté pan over medium-low heat. Add the onion and cook until it has softened, about 5 minutes. Add the peppers, aji dulce and cook for about 2 minutes then add garlic, chili flakes, cumin, saffron for another 5 minutes. Add tomatoes and let it cook a few minutes then add the poached cod and some of its liquid. If fresh oregano is available, add 1 spring or large leave plus the chickpeas. Let cook for about 20 minutes.
In the mortar, crush garlic, cilantro, and black pepper into a thick paste. Add this to the cod at the last minute.
Spoon the polenta into a plate, place the cod stew on top of it and garnish with the sliced picked ají dulce.
9 ounces dried garbanzos (chickpeas)
½ onion, cut in halves
½ cubanelle pepper, cut in halves
5 ajis dulce, cut in halves
1 garlic clove
1 celery stick, cut in halves
½ carrot, cut in
½ tomato, cut in halves
2 recao leaves
Pinch of salt
The night before you plan to cook the stew, combine the dried chickpeas cover with cold water. Allow to soak overnight, then drain and rinse the chickpeas. In a large saucepan, combine the chickpeas with 2 1/2 quarts of water and bring to a boil, add rest of ingredients. Reduce the heat to low and simmer until chickpeas are tender, about 2 hours. By the time the chickpeas have cooked, the water should have reduced so it barely covers the chickpeas. Remove from the heat, remove vegetable but leave chickpeas with the liquid and set saucepan aside.