In store appearance for Wilo Benet

Wilo Benet's True FlavorsTomorrow night, Sept 7th, at 7:00 p.m. Wilo Benet will make an in-store appearance at Borders in Plaza Escorial. Wilo Benet is the renowned local chef of Pikayo restaurant, and partner in the new restaurant Payá. More on those in a second....Benet is promoting his new cookbook Puerto Rico True Flavors

True Flavors is the accumulation of Wilo Benet's mastery of Puerto Rican cooking, his expertise in preparation, creativity, and finely-honed skills. Merging the tastes he grew up with, from his mother's "from-scratch" cooking, his grandmother's well-loved recipes, lunchtimes at public school, street vendors' fritters and roasted chickens, and all the other everyday-food influences of Puerto Rico, together with his exceptional culinary talents, he brings those historic true flavors of the Island into the 21st century.

In the book you'll learn how to make authentic Basics (adobo, escabache, mojito); Fritters (alcapurrias/stuffed yautía, bacalaítos/salt cod fritters); Soups such as sancocho/root vegetable & beef; Meats like carne mechada/stuffed pot roast; Fish (camarones al ajillo/shrimp in garlic sauce); Plantains (amarillos/sweet plantains, arañitas /plantain spiders); and Desserts (flan/custard pudding, dulce de lechosa/candied papaya), to name just a few of each. An example of one of the fritters recipes taken from his website is for:

Bacalaítos (Salt Cod Fritters)
Makes 1 dozen

  • 12 ounces salt cod fillet, soaked overnight and drained
  • 1¾ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 tablespoon adobo
  • 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
  1. Clean the salt cod: Remove any small bones and any tough skin from the salt cod, and coarsely shred the fillet into a bowl.
  2. Add the flour, baking powder, adobo and cilantro to the bowl, and pour in 3 cups of water. Mix well until a chunky, unified batter that resembles pancake batter forms.
  3. In a large frying pan, heat about 1 inch of vegetable oil to 350º F. Using a 2-ounce ladle and with a forward motion, pour the batter, in batches, into the hot oil, to form an elongated, flat fritter. Fry for about 10 minutes, turning occasionally with tongs, until crisp and golden brown. If the fritters happen to stick to the bottom of the pan while frying, use a thin spatula to detach them. Oil bubbling through the fritter during frying is a good indication of a perfectly fried bacalaíto.
  4. Remove the bacalaítos from the oil, and set aside to drain on paper towels.
Because these fritters are extremely oily, I recommend standing them in a colander or placing them over a cooling rack to drain before serving. Serve immediately.

Probably the epitome of Puerto Rico's fritter, bacalaítos are still cooked in their original rustic form along the island's coast.
As is evidenced by his run of Golden Fork awards given during the annual El Nueva Dia "Certamen de Buen Comer", Benet's original restaurant Pikayo is a classic. A long time favorite of Ms. Dees and I, Pikayo has to be one of the best places for fine dining in Puerto Rico. His newest endeavor, Payá, features a good ol'e home town menu of criollo favorites in a more casual atmosphere.

Benet will also be appearing next Friday, Sept 14th, at the Borders in Mayaguez Mall. For more information please call (787) 751-1124.



24 de julio de 2008, 10:06
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I love this man and his books. I was just given Puerto Rico True Flavors and I saw something that caught my eye -- the tostones rellenos. Who knew!!!! So I went on line to look for the gadget that would shape them so that I could stuff them. Low and behold -- there it was. Tostobueno. Again, who knew!!!!! I made them last weekend. Not only did the rellenos taste great but they looked beautiful. Let's keep up legitimizing this delicious fruit among the masses!!!!!!