It is said that the only thing worse than bad health is bad reputation. Without knowing why, the history of gastronomy is full of foods which reputation has varied by chance from good to bad depending on people, place and specific time.
The studies on nutrition at that moment, the symbolic thought or just commercial interests set aside the egg -during generations- to be consumed moderately, as it was considered a trigger for high cholesterol (and many other illnesses) and should cast it into oblivion. Also, the source of contemporary life (olive oil) lived worse times substituted by the Yankees seeds. Now, the yellow gold nourishes us, protects and boosts skin in a better way than the balm of eternal youth. Yet in Dominica, if there is a product that has had a very bad reputation is the plantain. Accused of blocking the brain or preventing intelligence reaches the mind; the worst things happen after eating too much bananas, then you become dull, slow, foolish and even stupid.
What will the plantain have really done to have that very dark karma? It is difficult to understand such cruelty for a food that is as kind as versatile. The banana has always been food and medicine, conqueror of half the world and infallible remedy against famine and shortage.
This is one of the fruits (or food) more consumed in the world and one of the first plants cultivated by man. The Ramayana (an ancient Sanskrit poem) enhanced already its powers and golden color that captivated the great Alexander the Great when visited India. There were known as “the fruit of the wise” because under the shade of its leaves Brahmins meditated. The conqueror brought to Greece but the plantain (as his empire) did not last long there.
After being condemned to obscurity, the Islam spread it throughout the temperate Africa. It sailed from this continent to the Caribbean (going via the Canaries) in the caravels of conquest to have success in the warm American lands.
Plantains, guineo, bananas or cambur, more than five hundred varieties of one family; having more or less sugar, different amount of starch but it is always tasty and energy-giving. It is full of vitamins, phosphorus and potassium that not only has nourished us but also healed. Its flowers heal ulcers and bronchitis; the sage relieves bites, and its roots lessen any stomach disorder. Shells are antibacterial and the infusion controls triggered tensions. Fried, in Mangú or boiled. It is indispensable in a stew, soul of Mofongo, the plantain is an energy-giving torpedo, it is Dominican essence.
Crunchy flavored-acids plantain pizza
We Will Use
For pizza: 2 plantain, drops of virgin olive oil, salt.
For the onions: 1 tablespoon of olive oil, 1 red onion slices, 2 tablespoons of rice vinegar, ½ teaspoon of sugar, salt.
For chillo: 2 fillets of chillo (no skin and bones), 1 lemon juice, 1 teaspoon of soy sauce.
For mayonnaise: ¼ cup of mayonnaise, grated zest of 1 lemon, 1 tablespoon of lemon juice.
For pizza: cut the plantains into thin slices. Put them on oiled baking plate. Cover them with oil and salt. Bake at 350 for about 20 minutes (should be crust).
For onions: heat the oil with the onion rings and once they are brown, add vinegar and sugar. Salt and reduce.
For chillo: cut steaks thinly. Marinate the chillo for 5 minutes (per side) in the mixture of juice and soy.
For mayonnaise: Mix all ingredients well.
Interleave all ingredients putting on crunchy plantains. Finally use rugula leaves and seeds of red tomato.
Plantain and shrimp with Curry Cream
We Will Use
For cream: 1 tablespoon of olive oil, 3 thinly chopped leeks, ½ tablespoon of curry, ¼ cup of cream, salt.
For Plantains: 2 diced plantains, 2 tablespoons of butter, pinch of sugar, pinch of ground cayenne pepper gives salt.
For chips: 1 plantain in thin slices, sunflower oil for frying, salt.
For shrimp: 16 extra large shrimp, drops of oil, salt.
For cream: use a pot with oil to cook chopped leeks over very low heat (and covered). Add the curry and cream when they are very soft. Add salt and cook for 5 minutes. Crush and add salt.
For Plantains: Boil diced plantain until cooked. Brown all dices with butter in a frying pan. Add the sugar to semi-caramelize. Powder using cayenne and salt.
For chips: fry plantain slices in plenty of oil. Drain on paper towels and salt it.
For shrimp: cook shrimp in a pan to taste.
Put all the ingredients on the cream of curry. Plantain Croquette with caramel spread and vanilla.
Croqueta de Plátano con Dulce de leche y Vainilla
We Will Use
For croquettes: 2 plantains slices, ¼ cup of brown sugar, ¼ teaspoon of ground cardamom, ½ cup of water, 1 egg, 1 cup of breadcrumbs, oil for frying.
For Garnish: 4 tablespoons of caramel spread, 1 Granny Smith apple, vanilla ice cream.
For the croquettes: Put together plantains, brown sugar, cardamom and water in a pot. Cook over a flame until all the water is almost evaporated. Crush in a glass and spread on a tray. Cool in the refrigerator to have consistency. Cut and coat in egg and breadcrumbs. Fry in abundant oil and drain them on paper towels.
Serve the croquettes along with ice cream over caramel spread.