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Plantain Patties

Posted Jan 06 2009 12:00am
I live in Miami, so tropical fruits are never hard to find.  From mangos and papayas, to plantains and yuca, almost every grocery store down here has an array of fresh tropical produce.  This week, I stocked up on sweet plantains, which were on sale for 25 cents a piece.
After baking a couple of them and eating them plain, I was ready for something different. In search of something interesting to make, I surveyed the fridge and pantry for random ingredients, and I came up with these plantain patties.
This combination of sweet plantains and savory spices made a unique snack, but they would also make a great appetizer for a Caribbean-themed meal.  I served them with a home-made pico de gallo, which was a great contrast to the sweet flavor of the plantains.
Plantain Patties:

2 ripe plantains, mashed
1 red bell pepper, finely chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 clove minced garlic
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
3/4 cup finely ground cornmeal
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp white pepper
1/2 tsp cumin
1 1/2 tsp salt
Warm a lightly greased non-stick skillet over medium heat. With a food processor, puree the plantains until they become pulpy and somewhat creamy.  If you don’t have a food processor, you can do this with a really strong fork and your patties will come out a bit more “rustic”.
Transfer the pureed plantains to a mixing bowl and stir in the diced pepper, garlic, cilantro, and olive oil.  In a separate bowl, stir together the remaining ingredients, and then add them to the plantain mixture.  Carefully fold in the dry ingredients until well combined, but try not to over-mix.
Drop mixture by rounded spoonful onto the warm skillet and cook for about 2-3 minutes on each side, or until golden brown.  Serve hot and top with pico de gallo (recipe below), black beans, or your favorite sauce.

Pico de Gallo:
2 cups chopped tomatoes
1 medium red onion, diced
1 small clove of garlic, minced
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
juice of 1 lime
pinch of salt, or more to taste
pinch of jalapeño powder (optional)
Mix all ingredients together and allow to chill for at least 1 hour so the flavors can combine. This recipe is not exactly traditional, but it is easy and delicious. Most pico de gallo recipes call for a couple of fresh jalapeños, but since I didn’t have them, I used the powder instead.  I also LOVE cilantro, so feel free to decrease the amount if this is too much for you.
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