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.


  1. I love Orinoco!! One of my favorite places. Great recipe, thanks!

  2. sounds interesting! I'll have to give it a go!

  3. Oh my, this sounds wonderful. Especially with the spicy shrimp, and those sweet, yummy plantains. I love plantains. Yum!

  4. what a tasty dish...hey

    hey you

    would you enter my cheese recipe contest????????

  5. Thanks Christina-what is your favorite dish to order there?

    Peggy-let me know how it turns out.

    Tasty (hehe) I know I love fiery with sweet and bitter and creamy and other such recipes, they are a little party for the mouth!

    Christine-I of course will enter your cheese contest, as cheese is my favorite thing to eat :D Let me start plotting...I mean planning!

  6. I had plantains tonight! This sounds like something I would just adore! Can't wait to see the photo.

  7. What an interesting start & u're drawing me to this recipe! Sorry for d late wishes but hope u did well for your exam. Thks for sharing this great post :)

  8. Aloha Caitlin,

    The dish was very delicious! I was busy eating and forgot to take a pic... You are such a great chef!
    I've never been to Orinoco before, let's go there sometime?

  9. Mmmm that sounds good. I love plantains, so I'm gonna have to try this one.


Tried my recipe? Please let me know how it turned out for you! Be honest (and kind!)