Thursday, May 22, 2008

Mashed plantains with bacon and onions


2 green plantains (1 1/2 lb total)
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 lb bacon, chopped (6 slices)
1 cup chopped onion (1 medium)
1 1/2 cups whole milk
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter

Using a sharp large heavy knife, cut ends off plantains and slit through peel lengthwise from end to end. Soak in a large bowl filled with 4 cups water and 1 teaspoon salt 5 minutes. (This makes peel easier to remove.) Remove tough outer peel, using a paring knife if necessary, and cut plantains into 1 1/2-inch pieces. Cook, covered, in a 2- to 3-quart saucepan of boiling salted water until tender, about 20 minutes.

While plantains cook, cook bacon in a 10-inch heavy skillet over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until crisp, about 4 minutes. Add onion and cook, stirring, until softened and browned, about 10 minutes. Reserve 1 tablespoon of mixture for garnish, then add milk, pepper, and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt (mixture may appear curdled). Remove from heat and keep warm, covered.

Drain plantains in a colander and return to saucepan. Reheat milk mixture and mash plantains with a potato masher, adding hot milk mixture and butter. Sprinkle reserved bacon and onion on top.

Makes 6 side-dish servings.

Dan's note: Make sure you cook the bacon until it is very crisp so that it will crumble. Remove it from the pan, dry it with paper towels, and drain off the fat, then crumble it back into the pan and keep cooking.

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