Back in October, we discussed some of the sustainable farming techniques that go into producing some of the fruits, vegetables, and herbs we use in our hotels. To recap: it is rather challenging to grow large amounts of sustainable, organic produce in Puntacana, but we have found a few clever ways to make it work. As part of our commitment to sustainability, we have a composting initiative that has worked wonders to make the soil capable of handling the organic produce we cultivate. What we left out of that last post, however, are the many different plants we grow and why we grow them.
First up on the list is coriander. While even mentioning coriander or cilantro can be entering a linguistic minefield, let’s put the fight about fresh coriander and cilantro to rest for a moment and look at the wonderful things we can do with this herb. Cilantro is a staple food in many Dominican dishes, and it’s often referred to as fresh coriander. While cilantro goes into a lot of Dominican dishes, including the basics like rice, I think my favorite use of cilantro is in asopao de pollo. There is just something about one pot dishes that simmer with fresh herbs that I find absolutely irresistible.
Next up are our gorgeous tomatoes. There are few things in this world as refreshing as a juicy, ripe tomato. There are also few things as important to the national palate of the Dominican Republic as the tomato. See, tomatoes are an important part of la bandera dominicana (the Dominican flag), which is a staple dish in the Dominican Republic, and it’s truly delicious. The flag consists of a serving of rice alongside stewed beans (usually red beans) and stewed meat (usually chicken). The juice from fresh tomatoes and onions creates the rich, complex sauce that the meat stews in. Tasting these tomatoes is tasting the Dominican Republic.
The last plant I want to highlight today is the pepper. We grow both bell peppers and chile peppers at Puntacana, and it’s a good thing, because both see a lot of use in Dominican cooking. The dish that I want to talk about next that really shows off how wonderful peppers are is one that probably has as many recipes as it does families on the island, and that is sazon. Sazon (also known as sofrito elsewhere) is a base that is widely used in many of our dishes. Far be it from me to tell people how to make it, but I like mine with at least a little bit of cubanelle in it, and I know others like to use all manner of bell peppers in theirs. It’s most commonly used as an addition to stews, soups, and other dishes, but it’s so tasty I won’t judge you if you eat a little bit straight from a spoon.
While we do grow many other types of organic produce on the resort, including beets, lettuce, eggplant, and celery, those will have to wait for another day. I hope that you have a deeper appreciation for some of our food. At the very least, I hope that you leave this blog post hungry. If so, check out the menu for some of our favorite Dominican restaurants
What are some of your favorite Dominican dishes?
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THE ESTATES AT PUNTACANA RESORT & CLUB