Von Diaz’s Puerto Rican Recipes

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Good morning. The journalist, historian and cookbook author Von Diaz brought together her essential Puerto Rican recipes for us this week, dishes that she calls foundational to her understanding of flavor, “a culinary mejunje, or mix, of Indigenous, African, Spanish and American ingredients and techniques.”

Her essay on the subject is itself essential reading, and I think you’ll want to get into the recipes in your kitchen this week, building on her sazón and sofrito to make all manner of deliciousness.

You might start with pollo en fricasé, braised chicken thighs in a rich, oniony, tomato-based sauce with garlic, white wine and vinegar, set off by briny olives and capers. Or sancocho, the rustic stew you can make with root vegetables and just about any meat. Or, if you’re feeling celebratory, you might try your hand at pernil (above), the crackly-tender roast pork that is probably the best-known dish of the Puerto Rican diaspora.

Von has a beautiful recipe for pescado frito, whole red snapper marinated in adobo, then fried and served with tostones, avocado salad and white rice. And another one for yuca con mojo, boiled yuca doused in a garlic-and-citrus mojo dressing, her grandmother’s recipe.

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Now, it has nothing to do with saucepans or the scent of thyme, but I liked Ben Libman’s essay in The Times arguing that 1925 may have been modernist literature’s most important year. (That year’s in the spotlight because books published then have just emerged from under copyright.)

Tacking in another direction, here are 15 cooking tips our Food team swears by, on YouTube.

Robert Travers has a poem, “Geese,” in The Yale Review.

Finally, here’s Spoon covering Tom Petty, “Breakdown,” and you ought to listen to that very loud. I’ll be back on Friday.

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