Spice It Up!
The following recipe is by noted Puerto Rican Chef Wilo Benet and author of "Puerto Rico True Flavors," which features more than 100 recipes, exceptional photography and takes readers on an island culinary journey.
Yields 2 servings
2 green plantains
Vegetable oil for frying
1 tablespoon olive oil (not extra virgin)
2 cloves garlic
½ teaspoon kosher salt
½ ounce bacon
2 teaspoon saffron broth (see recipe below)
8 Jumbo shrimp, peeled and deveined
1. Peel the plantains: cut off ½ inch from both ends of the plantains. Using a sharp knife, score the skin lengthwise in three different sections. Slide the tip of the knife or your finger under the skin and begin to pull it away, going from top to bottom. (Doing this under warm water facilitates the peeling.)
2. In a frying pan or deep fryer, heat about 2 inches of vegetable oil to 350ºF. Cut the plantains into 1-inch pieces (or ½-inch for smaller tostones), and add to the hot oil. Fry for about 6 minutes until they start turning golden and are tender inside. Remove from the oil, and drain on paper towel.
3. Prepare the mofongo: Oil the inside of a wooden mortar with the olive oil. Add the garlic and ¼ teaspoon of kosher salt and, with the pestle, pound the garlic to a paste. Add half of the fried plantains to the mortar and, with the pestle, pound to a coarse mash, incorporating the garlic paste as you pound. Add the bacon, saffron broth and the remaining pieces of plantain. Season with a bit more salt, and pound to mash the newly added plantain and incorporate the other ingredients. Rotate the mortar as you go, pounding with a downward motion toward the sides of the mortar (this helps to alternate the ingredients from the bottom of the mortar). Once the mixture is mashed, smooth out and flatten the surface. With a spoon, remove the mofongo from the mortar, and flip onto a plate. At this point the mofongo should look like a half dome.
4. Sauté the shrimp in a little oil or butter and cook until done. Place over the mofongo and dress with the broth.
For the Saffron Broth:
2 cloves of garlic
2 pinches of saffron
1. Thinly slice 2 garlic cloves, while preheating sauté pan at medium temperature. Add butter and the garlic and bring up temperature to high. Sauté for a couple of minutes and add 1 cup of chicken broth, bring to a boil and add more butter until you have a nice and smooth consistency. Add 2 pinches of saffron and salt to taste.
2. Allow saffron to incorporate to an even color by stirring lightly. Lastly add the peas and cook further a couple of minutes.
Recipe and photo used with permission. Learn more about Chef Wilo Benet at http://www.wilobenet.com