We watch a lot of cooking shows, like a lot a lot. I’ve noticed that most dishes focusing on Puerto Rican food have plantains in it. I was so thrilled to have the opportunity to visit my parents in Puerto Rico over the Thanksgiving holiday.
Being that I had never tried plantains before (shocker, I know), I was so excited to try them on this trip. I tried so many different versions and was so stinkin’ disappointed that I didn’t really care for them. Not to let that stop me, I kept trying them. Over, and over, and over, and…you get the idea. To those of you who like the original plantain, I am so jealous, and this recipe is probably not for you. Although the recipe may provide an interesting change…maybe?
When figuring this recipe out, I was thinking about my favorite way to indulge in starches. I love mashed potato leftovers formed into patties and pan-fried. I was hoping plantains wouldn’t be any different.
To start, take two ripe plantains. They should be fairly soft (again, I have no idea if this is traditional when using plantains, but it is what I did).
Peel the plantains, mash ‘em, and lightly cover the mush with salt and pepper. I love salt, so it is a must for me. If you don’t like salt (whaaaaa????) then leave it out. I must warn you…if you leave it out, you may end up with bland goop. That’s just my very biased opinion.
Ok. Now that we have established that I love salt, I will remind you, yet again, that I have had a long-standing love affair with scallions. Unfortunately, I was out and no interest in going to the store. The next best option was to use sliced washed leeks. I sautéed them in butter for just a few minutes to slightly soften them. If you use scallions, there is no need to soften them. Now combine everything, and add a few tablespoons of flour, just to firm up the texture a little bit. I also added about 2 tablespoons of chopped fresh cilantro, just for a little extra flavor and the pretty green color.
Next, take ¼ cup of the mixture, flatten it between your hands and coat the patties in seasoned breadcrumbs. Once all the patties are formed, place them on a plate and refrigerate for an hour or so. This will ensure that they stay together during cooking.
Finally, heat a skillet over medium-high heat. Melt 2 tablespoons of butter, and add just a little bit of oil to keep the butter from browning. Cook the plantain patties until both sides are browned, turning only once during cooking.
Now comes the best part: time to chow down. I decided to serve them with the most delicious spicy mango sauce that my amazing mother made and sent home with us from Puerto Rico. It is unfortunately almost gone…she may have to mail more. That wasn’t too subtle, was it? Maybe she will even post the recipe sometime (it is that amazingly good, and you haven’t lived until you try it. For real.)
Happy February to you all, and here’s to many more delicious meals in 2014.