One of the great joys in traveling is getting the chance to try out new foods. In Vieques, we rented a place with a kitchen so that we could hit the markets and do some of our own cooking with local ingredients.
Puerto Rico has a pretty unique cuisine. The Taíno Indians, Spanish, Africans, and Americans all brought foods to the modern Puerto Rican table. So you get yuca and plantains happily coexisting with pineapples and chicharones.
I got excited when we drove by an outdoor fruit market and they had a big sign out front advertising longaniza sausage. We wandered the market for a good 15 minutes, picking out some fresh pineapples and papayas, but couldn’t find the sausages. I finally asked somebody and they pointed to what looked like a trailer truck full of tires. I walked over and, sure enough, there were two freezers full of sausage tucked behind the Uniroyals.
I got a couple of pounds of links, and when we checked out the cashier assured me that they made it themselves and that it was very good.
That night I slapped them on the grill along with some pineapple. The minute they hit the grate you could smell the garlic :). I cooked them over medium heat for about 15 minutes, until they were well browned, but still juicy.
I served them with some tostones and the grilled pineapple spears.
I’d never had longaniza before so I really didn’t know what to expect. They tasted like a cross between a garlicky brat and Spanish chorizo. Not too spicy, but with a little kick of paprika and the earthy flavors of achiote. They had a coarse grind that looked to be a combination of ground pork and some larger chunks of cured ham. They were wonderful for dinner and then later chopped up into some eggs for breakfast.
Again, what happens on vacation stays on vacation.
ONE YEAR AGO – Corned Beef
TWO YEARS AGO – Spring is in the Air