My Cuban starter
Fried plantain & Ginger butter beans served with flash fried cherry tomato & a coriander avocado chilli salad
- 250g butter beans (1 small tin 31p)
- 1 garlic clove
The essential ingredients
- 3 cherry tomatoes (10p)
- 30g red onion
- 1 ready to eat avocado (45p)
- Lettuce (10p)
- Handful of fresh coriander
- 10g fresh ginger (10p)
- Dry thyme
- Salt & Pepper
- Chilli flakes (optional)
- Olive oil
- Plantain (40p)
- 1 lime (29p)
Total spent: £1.75 or 0.44p per person. The cherry tomato was found in LIDL at 49p for a box of 15 units. The eating avocado cost 0.89p for 2 and as for the lettuce, I only used 5 big leave worth about 10p. The whole lettuce cost 37pThe rest of the shopping will be used for other dishes during the week. The plantain can generally be bought at 3 to 5 units for £1. I only bought 1 plantain as I did not have use for more.
Start by draining and rinsing the beans. Set aside. Dice the garlic, onion and 1 cherry tomato. Peel and grate the ginger, then cut in 4 each the other 2 of the cherry tomatoes (you should have 8 tomato wedges altogether).
1) Flash fry the quartered cherry tomatoes: Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil add 1 pinch of salt, thyme and the tomato. Toss fry for 1 minute. Remove from heat and set aside in a bowl for later.
The ginger butter beans
2) Cook the beans in ginger: In the same frying pan, add and heat 2 tablespoons olive oil. Add the diced onion and fry for a minute. Add the beans and grated ginger. Stir, add salt and pepper as well as 200ml water then cover to simmer for 20 minutes. This will allow the beans to soften and really absorb the flavours. All the water to evaporate, but to not let the pan dry as we need the bean to be slightly wet.
3) Fry the plantain: The ideal frying plantain should be uniformly
yellow with both end still slightly green. When fried it will still be just sweet enough and firm. A very ripe plantain tends to be too sweet, absorbs a lot of oil and can be very sticky.
So, peel the plantain and cut it as on the picture on the right, about 1cm thick each. A whole plantain should provide about 10-12 slices.
The plantain can be fried in a chip pan with a lot of oil. If using this option, heat the oil as if for French fires, then drop the plantain pieces in and allow to fry and brown all over or 2 minutes an half.
Fried plantain… perfect brown
If you do not have a chip pan, just us a frying pan, and pour in about 200ml of vegetable oil. Allow the oil to really heat up, then carefully place the pieces of plantain in one single layer. Fry each side for 1 minute or minute and a half, then turn over to do the same for the other side. If the fire is too high, the plantain will burn. Turn down the heat if necessary and continue. If the heat is too low, the plantain will absorb too much oil. Not ideal.
Plantain topped with Ginger butter beans & flash fried cherry tomato
Which event method you choose to fry the plantain, once the plantain is fried, remove from oil, place on absorbing tissue and lightly dust with salt.
I served the plantain topped with the ginger butter beans and the flash fried cherry tomato all held with a tooth pick… with an avocado, coriander and chilli flakes salad.
4) Making the green salad: select the greenest leaves of the lettuce, wash them individually under the tap and roughly cut them. Do the same for the handful of fresh coriander.
Lettuce, coriander, avocado, lime & chilli flakes
Mix both in a salad bowl and sprinkle with chilli flakes. Just before serving, drizzle with olive oil and serve with slices of avocado and lime wedges as no vinaigrettes will be needed.
This starter could be great for a very Cuban brunch… add some barbecue chicken wings and fermented, radishes and green beans…
I had fun putting this together. Hope you will too. Do post your comments.
In the next post you will be able to see the main from this menu. The Ropa Vieja with Sundried Tamales…
See recipes in the next post – Tamale & Ropa Vieja