Delicious Rice Dish from the 1800s

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 15,255
    Pilau (pronounced PER-low) is an old 1800s rice dish introduced to San Augustin by a group of early immigrants from Mallorca. Rice mixed with spices and chicken.

    Janice Jones: It's one of the ancient cities simplest charms, a little known culinary tree Pilau, a cultural dish introduced the St. Augustine in the 1800's by families bought to the new land from Minorca. Pilau is a rice dish with similarities to Jambalaya or Paella, but with a unique spice.

    Frank Usina: Pilau at its very simplest is onion, tomato, some spices and some leaves. There are many varieties of Pilau with common to all of them is rice and second is seasoning with datil peppers.

    Janice Jones: Frank Usina is a great grandson of those early Minorcan families that made Pilau his restaurant Aunt Kate's named after his grandmother serves up the Minorca specialty daily in true local fashion you got to know the lingo.

    Frank Usina: He spell it Pilau pronounce it per-lo.

    Janice Jones: The spelling is not important it's the lore of the dish.

    Frank Usina: Flagler without sailing in February of 1900 he definitely stopped and ask my grand parents to prepare some oysters for he and his friends.

    Janice Jones: That's Henry Flagler of East Cost railroad fame. As the story goes Flagler enjoy the get away so much he would bring guests to be entertained and fed by the Usina family.

    Frank Usina: They definitely eat Pilau. My grandmother was known for her Pilau.

    Janice Jones: This spicy Minorcan rice dish still thrives in St. Augustine especially through a number of long time family owned restaurants. The cool thing about Pilau is there is no set recipe, so it's kind of like a family, they are all unique. No matter where you order it, it's always going to be a different experience.

    Jay Calendar: Yeah, there is hundred different versions of Pilau, every family makes a different one.

    Janice Jones: Jay Calendar is head chef in Aunt Kate's, where the Usina a family recipe is still served to visitors.

    Jay Calendar: What sets this recipe apart is the use of all spice and brown sugar.

    Janice Jones: It's offered every third Friday at O'Steen's another local favorite, Chef Tim Collin has been serving up this family recipe along side southern veggies for over 30 years. There are plenty of spots in St. Augustine to satisfy your Pilau pursuit, serve the local special or check out the annual Minorcan festival. Serving it up Minorcan style, I am Janice Jones for Visit Florida.