One of my favorite things about traveling is trying different foods. A few years ago, my husband and I went to Puerto Rico and discovered mofongo. This is one of the few truly traditional Puerto Rican dishes, as they share much of their cuisine with the other Caribbean Islands. The first time we had this, we were at a little beachside cafe. Eating this brings back the warm breeze, sunshine and relaxation of that moment.
- vegetable oil
- green plantains (about 1 per person)
I posted previously about how to cook plantains, which is the starting point for my mofongo. Once you have fried the plantains, coarsely mash them up with garlic. I used raw garlic and about two large cloves per serving. This was very tasty but I may roast the garlic next time to see if the milder flavor is more socially for me since I had a couple of comments the next day such as, “wow, what did you eat?”. I think the garlic had something to do with that!
Once you have the mashed plantain and garlic, it should be a bit chunky, mold the mixture. I used a bowl and molded it with a hollow for the filling. At this point, you can unmold and fill it, or bake it a bit to crisp the edges. I baked it at a high oven because I wanted a bit of browning without adding fat or cooking the center, which should be soft. I suppose you could use the broiler for this step.
The filling can be anything saucy and flavorful. I used the Simple Black Bean soup. This recipe from Whole Foods blog really is simple. The ingredient list is short: black beans, onions, red pepper, garlic and spices. The secret ingredient is nutritional yeast, which is has vitamin B12 and is very important for vegetarians to add to their diets. It also adds a richness and depth of flavor to the soup. Of course, if you aren’t vegan or vegetarian, you can fill it with the traditional creole and meat fillings. Either way, this is a delicious taste of the Caribbean that is easy and quick!