Behold: The secret to the Caribbean’s savory dishes

Your life will never be the same

Behold: the secret to the Caribbean’s savory dishes

Photograph by Martha Williams

There’s life before you add green seasoning to your cooking repertoire, and life after it. You’ll likely never see this concoction in an official recipe for a soup, stew, slow roast, or curry, but green seasoning—known as sofrito and recaito in the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico, and epis in Haiti—is undoubtedly the backbone of Caribbean cooking. Use the aromatic blend of fresh herbs and spices by the spoonful as a base, marinade, sauce, or topping. Like most Caribbean endeavors, measurements (and directions) are never precise and stand-ins for hard-to-source items stateside (like culantro and Scotch bonnet) are often necessary. But for now, just make do.

• Culantro (or cilantro)
• Parsley (flat, not curly)
• Scallion (green onion)
• Heat (Scotch bonnet, pimiento, ají dulce, or cubanelle)
• Garlic
• Sea salt
• Olive oil
• Cube of bouillon (optional)

Roughly chop the ingredients. To make about two cups, start with 3 parts culantro to 2 parts parsley to 1 part scallion and pepper. Add 3 cloves of garlic, a cube of the bouillon (if using), and several pinches of sea salt. In a blender, combine ingredients, drizzle in some oil, and blend to your desired texture. Give it a good stir and then put it in everything.

This article appears in our May 2023 issue.