In Coconuts and Collards, Von Diaz looks at the meeting point between Puerto Rican food traditions and Southern cooking.
To adobar or season/marinate meat is what gives much Puerto Rican food its signature flavor. As a rule, marinating should be done as far in advance as possible—preferably overnight—but it’s still delicious if you only have thirty minutes to spare. This is a very adaptable marinade. If you love garlic, add more. If you prefer lime juice to lemon juice, use it. Recipes are for chicken, seafood, beef, or pork but are mostly interchangeable. A series of recommendations for other adjustments, such as adding smoked paprika to give depth and color, are included with individual recipes. Traditionally, an adobo is ground in a wooden pilón (or mortar and pestle), but like my mother, I use a food processor because it’s quick and easy.
Note: Each recipe is per pound of meat, and all salt is measured in teaspoons. Meat should always be rinsed with cold water and thoroughly dried with paper towels before rubbing down with adobo. The best way to store carne adobada (seasoned meat) overnight is in a large, heavy-duty zip-top bag or tightly wrapped in plastic wrap.
- Put all the ingredients in the bowl of a small food processor and blend into a smooth puree, scraping the sides halfway through to incorporate fully.
From Coconuts and Collards: Recipes and Stories from Puerto Rico to the Deep South by Von Diaz. Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 2018. Reprinted by permission of the University Press of Florida.