March 13, 2012

Spring Fever: A Mofongo Sandwich

Yesterday it reached 70° in Middletown which for mid-March is something of a very late Christmas miracle. With the sun in full swing (that's a term, right?), the buzz of spring in the air, and flip-flops on my feet, some friends and I headed down to Miller's Pond near Wesleyan for a picnic. We packed eggplant sandwiches with pesto yogurt on bagels, applesauce cookies my housemate Mitch had made and iced tea. Except for a few dog walkers we were the only people there and it felt like we were getting a sneak-peak in on summer all to ourselves. Score.

Something changes when the thermometer reaches 70° for the first time in spring. Your thoughts start to change. You think things like:

"Oh yeah, this is what summer kinda feels like."
"Oh yeah, when it's still light out and warm at 7pm, I'm a happier person."
"Oh yeah, flip-flops and shorts are the best."
"Oh yeah, it's probably only this warm because of global warming. Great, we're fucked."

You know, things like that.

            The slightly more portable version of the sandwich for the Wesleyan Farmers Market, served in a baguette. 

Most of Wesleyan is on spring break but I'm still here along with some friends working on my thesis (it's on Italian-American cuisine, more on that in an upcoming post). With the campus quiet and the weather this nice, it really does feel like a vacation, even if I'm sometimes stuck in my thesis carrell at three o'clock on a gorgeous afternoon. And it means that I have plenty of time for my favorite past time: cooking (fine, cooking and eating). And cooking up dishes for spring seems like just the thing to do. With local produce still a few weeks away in New England, why not try this mofongo sandwich from Puerto Rico? It'll be sure to hit the [spring-fever] spot.

Last week at the Wesleyan Farmers Market, Damiano and I sold these mofongo sandwiches. Mofongo is a Puerto Rican dish of fried, smashed plantians served with meat or seafood and broth. For our adaptation, we fried and smashed some plantains and served it with a creamy, spicy sofrito of onions, peppers, chilis, bay leaves, and sour cream along with slices of avocado. It's a juicy, complex sandwich with layer upon layer of bright, spicy flavors.

If it's as beautiful where you live and you're thinking: I want to add mo' mofongo to my life, now's the time.