Our next recipe in the safe starch series is one that hails from Latin America – plantain fritters. Known as “mofongo” in Puerto Rico, “bolon de verde” in Ecuador, and “tacachos con cecina” in the Peruvian Amazon, these fritters are a delicious addition to your palate. I was especially taken with the Peruvian use of crunchy bacon and rich lard to bring the fritter together, which is then served with a huge hunk of ham and topped with a piece of chorizo for a filling meal. I’ve taken some inspiration from the savory use of pork to include lard and bacon in the fritter, but if you’d prefer to go without pork for this recipe, skip the bacon, use coconut oil instead of lard and just add a little extra salt.
- 1 green plantain
- 2 strips bacon (omit if you prefer without pork)
- 1 heaping tsp lard (or substitute coconut oil)
- pinch salt
- In a skillet, cook the bacon. When the bacon is done, remove from the pan to a paper towel-lined plate or rack. Don’t clean the pan: save the pan and bacon fat in it for the final step of the recipe.
- Peel the plantain and cut into four pieces: cut once across and once lengthwise. Cook the plantain pieces. I like to bring a pot of water to a low boil, add the plantains, and simmer the pieces for 5 minutes. Then, check for doneness as you would for a potato, by inserting a knife to see if it will go through easily. If they aren’t done, they may need another 5 minutes or so.
- The plantains could also be grilled, sautéed, or any other method, as long as they are cooked. Drain plantains and place in a bowl. Mash with a potato masher or place them in a mortar and pestle to do the job.
- Chop the bacon into small pieces and mix into your mashed plantain.
- Mix in a heaping teaspoon of lard, and stir to create a batter. If you find the batter to be dry or crumbly, add more lard bit by bit until it becomes moist enough to shape into fritters.
- Add and mix in pinch of salt to taste, keeping in mind that the bacon adds some salt already.
- Shape the batter into fritters, in round shapes or patties. I like to make 3-inch round patties of 1 inch height. One plantain should make 3 fritters, using about 6-8 TB of batter for each fritter. Since all elements are already cooked, the fritters can be the size or shape you prefer.
- To add a nice browning to fritter before serving, heat the skillet in which bacon was cooked over low heat. Gently place the fritters in the skillet and allow to cook for 3-5 minutes per side.