lunes, 3 de octubre de 2011

Banana leaf-Wrapped Steamed Basa Pibil and Plantain-stuffed Poblano Peppers

So here's a real red herring for all you motherfucking haters out there. I cooked up a dish that includes most latin american stereotypes into one plate, is garnished with The Mighty Crohn, and still manages to pass as genuine Nouvelle Cuisine Mexicaine. Fuck, I'm awesome.

If you're not familiar with Achiote (Bixa orellana), it's probably because you've only seen it used as a natural food coloring, annato. Achiote was introduced to the Americas by the Spanish early in the 17th century, and was quickly adopted by pretty much every one since. It's a small, deep red, inedible fruit, that contains an oily seed that is pressed or boiled to extract its flavors.

Apart from its characteristic deep red color, Achiote is appreciated for its bitter, pungent taste, akin to some types of mustard. You can find it in any Hispanic grocery store. Hell, I found it in France, so it shouldn't be a problem.
This is it. You will most likely find it in paste form.
Take 30 g (about 1 Oz) of Achiote paste and put in the blender with a cup of orange juice, a tablespoon of tomato paste, salt, pepper and a splash of balsamic vinegar. This is a very basic Recaudo Rojo, and you can use it to baste any thing you want.

Remember, annato is used as a coloring. The stains NEVER come off
Set this aside and start working on the side dish: Plantain-stuffed Poblanos with goat cheese:

Take 6 large poblano peppers and fire-roast them carefully until they're completely blackened and blistered, taking care not to over burn any of the flesh. Dunk them in an ice water bath and, as soon as they're cool to touch, peel them carefully and set them aside. This can be done up to 48 hours ahead. Whole peppers can be frozen for 3 months.
Sometimes, you may find these frozen whole. These are acceptable substitutes
Under no circumstances are you allowed to buy them canned.

While the chiles cool, take 3 plantains. Plantains are not bananas, but a close ancestor of the ubiquitous Cavendish variety we eat every day. They are much tougher than bananas and taste like sweet potatoes when they ripen. You need these to look like they're spoiled, otherwise they will taste no diferent than starchy potatoes
I know they look like turds, but trust me, they're delicious
See that lovely flesh? not turd-like at all
Peel them and chop them roughly. Boil them in abundant salted water until they come apart. Watch the pot for overflowing foam. Drain and add 2 Tbsps butter and 1/2 cup milk, salt and pepper, and stir them to make the puree.

I read somewhere that this is called "Fru-fru" in some places in Africa... WTF?
When the peppers are cool, open a slit in their flat side. Don't be a pussy and gut'em. Be a man and keep the veins and seeds. They taste awesome and offer an interesting contrast to the semisweet puree. Stuff each pepper with 3 tablespoons of the puree and 2 tablespoons of your favorite goat cheese, in this case, chevre. Keep them warm in the oven.

I know what you're thinking, you perv... ¬¬
Ashes completely optional. You can also try Feta and Manchego
Now the fun part. These are banana leaves. They can often be found fresh or frozen in Asian and Hispanic supermarkets. They smell like green banana peels and lend food a pleasant and unique flavor. Place a large piece over a foil sheet, place a fish filet (in this case, Basa, a type of vietnamese catfish) on top of it, douse with 4 Tbsps of Recaudo Rojo and roll. Then fold the banana leaf in thirds over the fish and wrap it tightly with aluminum foil.

Make sure your packets are perfectly sealed and place them on a hot skillet over a medium flame for 15-20 minutes. Test for doneness by pricking with a toothpick, the fish should be soft. If your packets are not tightly sealed, all the liquid will boil and escape and burn and you'll look like an asshole. You don't want that, do you?
Serve along the stuffed peppers and some rice and beans to instigate the haters. Top with abundant Crohn. This is vital. Crohn brings the whole thing together.

Printer Friendly Version:
Steamed Catfish Pibil with Pickled Radish and Plantain-stuffed Poblanos (Pescado Pibil con Escabeche de Rábano y Chiles Poblanos rellenos de Plátano Macho)
Serves 6

For the fish:
6 banana leaves
6 large basa fillets
30g achiote paste
1 Tbsp thinck tomato paste
1 cup orange juice
Splash of balsamic vinegar
Salt and pepper
Lots of Crohn

For the peppers:
6 large poblano peppers, roasted and cleaned
3 medium ripe plantains, chopped
2 Tbsps unsalted butter
1/2 cup whole milk
12 oz chevre
  • Start by blending the achiote, OJ, tomato paste, vinegar, salt and pepper. Set this aside.
  • Boil the plantains in salted water for 20 minutes, drain and mash with butter and milk. Adjust seasoning to taste
  • Stuff the peppers with 3 Tbsps of plantain puree and 2 oz of goat cheese each, set aside.
  • Lay your fish fillet on a banana leaf. Douse with the Recaudo Rojo and roll. Fold the banana leaf over the fish and wrap the whole thing tightly in aluminum foil
  • Grill the packets for 20 minutes over a medium flame
  • Serve topped with abundant Crohn
  • And, for the love of Odin, leave a comment!

7 comentarios:

  1. dammit, not sure for wich one I'm drooling, the chiles or the fish,.. but all good, except I was not there to approve this :P ,... but it does looks goood!.

    btw, you need to start thinking on a recipe that will use fry bannas :)

  2. Yeah, it was the "love of Odin" line that got me to finally comment... what can I say? The allfather will always inspire greatness. So, awesome as always dude. True inspiration for us wannabe cooks out there, even if your eagerness to spice things up seems a bit over the top sometimes for me (really, naming a dish -a salad, of all things- after Crohn's disease? ... that's just damn plain scary!) XD Keep up the good work!

  3. Suena increible! cuando escucho de platillos con plátano macho babeo a chorros. Parece que será preparado en esta casa la próxima semana, he dicho.

  4. Not a big fan of fish myself, but this recipe made me drool.

  5. @Axel: would you like some cochinita pibil for next week's post?

  6. Riquisimooo! RIQUISIMO!! Ideal para el fin de semana...YUUUUMiiiii =P
    KENA :D

  7. This is my comment for the love of Odin.

    Ah, no, así no es ¿verdad?
    Anyways, me choca que todo esto se vea tan rico y no poder probarlo. At the same time, que bueno que no lo puedo probar porque me pegaría una enchilada que jamás olvidaré.