Gastronomixs

Sofrito

Chef Karlos Enrique Ponte Maldonado grew up in Venezuela. Together with fellow Venezuelan Luis Moreno and the Dane Jacob Brink Lauridsen, Ponte opened Restaurant Taller in Copenhagen, where he works as chef. These three met while working together at noma. Taller means 'workshop' in Spanish and the word embodies the culinary ambitions of this team.

Before opening Taller, Ponte worked in a restaurant specialising in Asian cuisine in Copenhagen and also hosted a television programme about the Venezuelan kitchen. His ambition is to make his mark on gastronomy with a unique combination of tradition and avant garde that is characterised by working together with small-scale producers to develop a sustainable gastronomy. Ponte defines his style of cooking as having developed from a journey of discovery that was influenced by different mentors, local producers, traditional cooking, the landscape, modern chefs, travelling with his father, the kiss of his mother, and his memory of her scent.

In Venezuelan cuisine sofrito is the base for most stews and many sauces. A sofrito consists of slow-fried vegetables usually garlic, onion, tomato, bell pepper, and ají dulce. Ají dulce is one of the most common vegetables in Venezuela, belonging to the same family as the habanero chilli, but because it doesn’t contain capsaicin it is not spicy, which allows it to impart the fruity aromas that a chilli can have. Sofrito is a very important part of Venezuelan cuisine and having grown up hearing the hustle and bustle in the kitchen while his mother made sofrito Ponte wanted to make a tribute to it. This is the result. 

Creation by Karlos Ponte, Restaurant Taller, Copenhagen, Denmark.

Sofrito

Would you like to view this page?

To see this recipe or part of the website, you need an account. Click on the button below to get a free two-week Gastronomixs trial account. This page and a whole lot of extra features will be accessible immediately!

After the free trial period, you can choose to upgrade to a paid account to retain full access. For just €7 per month or €70 per year, you’ll have access to more than 4,300 components and hundreds of compositions!

Free two-week trial Do you already have an account? Log in now!

Ingredients

50

g

mañoco

50

g

sofrito water

10

g

garlic

180

g

onion

100

g

 ají dulce

250

g

red bell pepper

430

g

tomato

50

g

olive oil

 

 

salt to taste

10

g

red bell pepper

6

g

bay leaf

75

g

tamarind paste

450

g

cerveza negra (schwarzbier)

170

g

panela

75

g

rum

 

 

baby pearl onions, cut in half

2

units

white onion (diameter between 5 and 7 cm)

1

tsp

sunflower oil

 

 

a pinch of sea salt

150

g

black garlic

500

g

potatoes

200

g

red bell peppers

2

units

yellow onion (diameter between 5 and 7 cm)

1

tsp

olive oil

 

 

a pinch of sea salt

250

g

 ají dulce

 

 

red cherry tomato (diameter between 1.5 and 2.5 cm)

 

 

dark rum

620

g

onions, roughly chopped

40

g

garlic, minced

480

g

tomato, roughly chopped

380

g

red bell pepper, roughly chopped

7

g

 ají dulce

4

l

water

 

 

salt to taste

 

 

sugar to taste

Preparation method: fermented sofrito cream
  • In a large pan, heat up some olive oil and slowly fry the garlic, onion, ají dulce, red bell pepper, and tomato one by one in that order, adding the next ingredient into the pan after the previous one has sweat out its juices. This will take about twenty minutes.
  • Weigh the cooked sofrito, add 6% of its weight in salt, and blend it until smooth.
  • Pour the cream into a clean fermentation container and keep it stored between 18°C and 24°C. Stir daily and regularly check the smell.

*Usually, the smell becomes more intense after a week and bubbling will be visible. The longer the fermentation period of the mixture, the more intense the aroma that will develop. We ferment ours between five and eight months but it already has a very good taste after two weeks. If the ingredients used are of high quality and have been in their optimal state of maturity, you will be able to get a rich tomato umami flavour with acidic tones infused with the aroma of the onion and ají dulce. It can always be adjusted with salt, sugar, or vinegar (for acidity) just before serving it.

Preparation method: beer and tamarind pickled pearl onions
  • Combine all ingredients for the marinade in a pot and simmer until a light syrup consistency is reached. Allow to cool.
  • Pull vacuum the baby pearl onions and steam for 25 minutes at 80°C. Cool down in an ice bath.
  • Pull vacuum the baby pearl onions with the pickling syrup and allow to rest for 24 hours before using it. 
Preparation method: white onions
  • Peel and cut the onions in half lengthwise.
  • Pull vacuum the onions with the sunflower oil and salt.
  • Cook in vacuum at 84°C for twenty minutes until they are transparent. (Note: timing can change depending on how young the onions are. It is important not to overcook them so that they retain their structure.)
  • Cool down in ice-cold water.
Preparation method: charred onions
  • Peel and cut the onions in half lengthwise.
  • Heat up a frying pan (or plancha) and place the onion cut side down onto the pan. Use a heavy object (i.e. a pot with water) to weigh down the onions to get an even charring.
  • Let them char for five minutes or until the cut surface of the onion is completely black.
  • Remove from the pan and pull vacuum the onions with the olive oil and salt.
  • Cook in vacuum at 84°C for twenty minutes. (Note: timing can change depending on how young the onions are. It is important not to overcook them so that they retain their structure).
  • Cool down in ice-cold water.
Preparation method: sofrito water
  • In a large saucepan, cook the onions and garlic in olive oil over low heat until the onions are soft and almost translucent.
  • Add the red bell pepper and continue to cook over low heat until the red bell peppers are soft.
  • Add the tomato and the ají dulce and continue to cook over low heat until everything is well caramelised.
  • Add water and bring to a boil. Simmer until reduced to half.
  • Season to taste with salt and sugar.
  • Sieve and reserve.
Preparation method: rum steamed tomato
  • Blanch the tomato in boiling water then peel it and cut in half.
  • Shortly before finishing the dish, place the rum in the bottom of a steamer pot and steam the tomato for 30 seconds.
Preparation method: black garlic purée
  • Blend the black garlic into a paste in a blender. Pass throw a fine sieve and reserve in a squeeze bottle. 
Preparation method: mañoco
  • Shortly before finishing the dish, soak the mañoco in the warm sofrito water.

*Mañoco is the grated pulp of the yuca amarga (yellow Amazonian cassava root) that is grated and then dried and is used as a flour or a thickener in Venezuela's Amazonas state for soups as well adding some acidity to the preparations.

Preparation method: bell pepper chips
  • Place cold water in a medium saucepan. Add the potatoes immediately and cook until tender.
  • Peel the potatoes and cut into chunks.
  • Blend the potatoes with the bell pepper and pass the mixture through a sieve.
  • Spread the mixture onto an Excalibur sheet and dehydrate for 24 hours at 60°C.
  • Store chips until ready to use.
  • Fry the chips in 160°C oil for not more than a second (in and out).
Preparation method: ají dulce powder
  • Blend the ají dulce in a spice grinder until very fine.
  • Pass the powder through a fine mesh and set aside in a cool, dry container until ready to use.
Finishing & presentation
  • Keep all the ingredients warm between 45 to 55°C in a Hold-o-mat.
  •  Place the sofrito cream on a flat plate. Use a palette knife to spread the cream in a semi circumference.
  • Create three small dots of black garlic and place one of the three different onion components on top of each.
  • Place the tomato half on the left side of the onions.
  • Split the mañoco between the onions and the cream.
  • Powder four bell pepper chips with the ají dulce powder on one side. Place the chips between the onions with the powdered side up.
  • Put three flowers between the two big onion layers.

Previous page