Sunday, November 8, 2009
Pastelon de Platanos con Camarones
Do you ever get a dish stuck in your head and then you daydream about its smell, texture and taste until you realize that making the dish may be a life or death situation? I'm undergoing one of these urgent matters, all whilst studying for a nursing exam tomorrow morning.
Orinoco is a Venezuelan restaurant that opened its first location at the corner of Shawmut and East Concord, near Boston Medical Center in Boston's South End. Arepas, empanadas, slow-cooked beef (pabellon criollo), sweet plantains, molten chocolate cake...these are just some of my favorite thing to eat at Orinoco. While service varies between locations, the food is simply heavenly.
On my most recent visit to their Brookline Village location, my boyfriend was smart enough to order the appetizer special: fried oysters over a bed of mashed sweet plantains, gooey cheese (Fontina perhaps? I couldn't figure it out) and bitter sauteed spinach. The contrasting sweet/bitter & gooey/crunchy nature of the dish was a-frickin-mazing. I am not a big oyster girl-never cared for them, especially not (god forbid) raw, but did enjoy this fried version. That being said, in my recreation, I am going to use shrimp; cheaper, easier to cook, pleases more people. Case closed.
To Make Plantain Pie (PHOTO up tomorrow evening):
5 large ripe plantains
1 1/2 cups chopped baby spinach (I used frozen spinach and let it defrost, then drain)
1 cup shredded fontina
1/2 lb chipotle shrimp
Canola oil (enough to come up about 1/3 inch in saute pan)
Preheat oven to 400.
Cut ends from plantains and peel. Sllice each plantain lengthwise into 4 pieces. In a 12-inch skillet heat oil over medium-high heat until hot but not smoking and saute pieces in batches(test 1 pieces of plantain-if oil does not mostly cover plantain, add more and heat before adding the remaining pieces), without crowding, until golden brown, 1 to 2 minutes on each side (use spatulas to turn slices). With a spatula transfer plantains to a paper towel to drain. Flatten strips with plantain peel.
Place 1/2 of plantain slices alongside each other to cover bottom layer of pie dish, forming an impromptu pie crust.
Cover plantains with baby spinach. Sprinkle fontina cheese over spinach.
Spread shrimp evenly over spinach and cheese. Use remaining plantain slices to cover shrimp and press down.
Cook in oven about 25-30 minutes, until plantain is turning golden.
Let sit 5 minutes before slicing.