Ever wonder why a mango just tastes better outside the U.S.? Well, here’s one answer: in Cuba’s case, ninety percent of Cuba’s food comes from organic farms. And in addition to drawing the attention of U.S. restaurateurs like San Francisco’s Narsai David, these small, cooperative farms are slowly transforming the food economy in Cuba. Reporter Reese Erlich went along with David to see how the food’s cooking up.
Narsai’s Sauce Cubana
Recipe copyrighted 2014 by Narsai M. David
I created this sauce at a cooking class for aspiring chefs recently in Cuba. It caught my audience by surprise as the papaya is a fruit and not traditionally used in savory recipes. It was also intriguing to them that I used the papaya seeds. They have a slightly peppery flavor and add complexity to the heat of the chili.
1 lb red papaya Yield 1 1⁄2 cups
1⁄4 cup white wine vinegar
1⁄4-1⁄2 tsp cayenne or chili pepper flakes
Peel the papaya, and reserving the seeds, cut the papaya into small chunks.
Puree all ingredients, including the papaya seeds in a blender or food processor.
Press through a fine sieve to create a smooth, creamy sauce.
This sauce can be served at the table with grilled or poached chicken or fish. I
have used it as a salad dressing by just thinning it out a little with vinegar. The
texture is such that no oil is needed.
VARIATIONS: Consider adding one or two cloves of garlic when pureeing, and
experimenting with the use of fresh chili peppers instead of the dried.