Annatto seed, or achiote as it's known in Spanish, is tiny seed that can make a big difference.
Annatto is used to color cheeses (Mimolette, Red Leicester), to color lipstick, and in many Latin cuisines. The flavor is subtle, warm and nutty. The deep red-orange color is essential to Arroz Amarillo (yellow rice), arroz con pollo (chicken rice) and more. Once you have it on hand you'll find yourself reaching for it whenever you want to add color and warmth to a dish.
In a medium skillet, place 1 C of Extra Virgin olive oil, organic corn oil, or organic canola oil. Add 4 TBSP of achiote seeds. This is the brand I like. I like to add a bay leaf, a slightly crushed clove of garlic, and a dried chili pod. Simmer until the garlic just begins to color, the annatto seeds will darken a bit but don't let them blacken. Take off the heat and let the flavors infuse the oil for at least thirty minutes. Be sure to keep it at a low to medium simmer, too high heat will scorch the seeds and make the oil unusable.
Strain and store in a jar or bottle with pouring spout.
- For popping popcorn
- Brush on cod filet, bake for fish tacos
- When making sofrito
- Roasting a pork shoulder or starting barbecue sauce
- Sauteeing empanada filling