Sunday, March 19, 2006

Yes, we have no bananas – just plantains

I love plantains. Especially sautéed until their natural sweetness comes through.

There are a lot of ways to use plantains – mashed, doubled fried (Tostones), boiled, you can use them green (less sweet) or wait till their really black (very sweet).

I especially like plantains – sautéed as mentioned – for breakfast. The mild sweetness and the light starchiness make them ideal complements to a number of egg dishes.

So we thought – what the hell – let’s just put them inside the eggs, with some nice red pepper / Serrano chili salsa on top. A sprinkle of cilantro or parsley, and a wonderful breakfast was ready to go! In the picture above, you can just see the plantain peeking out from under the omelet.

Plantain Omelets with Red Pepper Serrano Chili Salsa
Serves 4

4 ripe plantains (yellow with lots of black)
olive oil
12 eggs
1 cup milk
4 tbsps butter
olive oil
Red Pepper Serrano Chili Salsa (recipe follows)

Peel the plantains, and cut in half, then cut each half again the long way – resulting in 4 long quarters per plantain.

Heat some olive oil in a large sauté pan. Sautee the plantains over medium heat until golden, turning carefully every few minutes. Do not cook over too high of heat or they will burn before they have a chance to cook through.

Whisk together 4 eggs (use 3 eggs if you are not serving teenage garbage disposals), 2 tbsps. milk, a pinch of salt and a pinch of pepper.

Heat an omelet sauté pan over medium high heat. Add 1 tbsp of butter and a splash of olive oil (the omelet comes out much better with the butter – olive oil mixture). Add the egg mixture. Using a spatula or turner, push the egg that is starting to set along the side of the pan back towards the center, allowing the space to be filled with runny uncooked egg. Continue doing this around the perimeter of the pan, also popping any bubbles that form in the center of the pan, until most of the egg is set. Place 3-4 plantain quarters on ½ of the omelet. Tilting the pan, carefully scoop / flip the bare half of the omelet over on top of the plantain half. Allow to cook for another minute. Place a small serving plate over the entire omelet in the pan, and holding the plate with one hand and the pan with the other, turn the entire pan upside down onto the plate. Carefully remove the plate – hopefully with the perfectly formed omelet sitting on it.

Spoon some salsa over the omelet, and sprinkle with cilantro or parsley. Serve this one, and make the remaining omelets in a similar manner (I find that you have to serve each one as they are done – otherwise someone’s is cold, and the last ones suffer because of trying to hurry and finish).


Red Pepper Serrano Salsa
4 servings

2 red bell peppers, chopped
4 roma tomatoes, chopped
1 serrano chili, minced fine
¼ red onion, chopped fine
3 cloves garlic
1 lemon
olive oil
salt, pepper

Sautee onion in olive oil until softened. Add garlic and sautee for 1-2 minutes. Stir in chili, red pepper and tomatoes. Add juice of one lemon, and stir together. Sautee over moderate heat until most of the excess liquid has evaporated. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

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