I'm working through a course on creativity for the next couple of weeks. Each day I will be given a creative prompt that I am suppose to turn into some sort of creative project in my chosen medium. My medium is food and food writing and my prompt for today is the word Ivory... I wasn't really sure what to do with this word so I started by brainstorming... What exactly is ivory? There is the color, the tusk of an elephant, a bar of clean smelling soap, or it could also be Ivory Coast. Since soap and elephant tusks don't make good eating... I will concentrate on the color and the country. Here it is....
It just so happened that today I had a craving for fried Plantains... I was dreaming about our upcoming trip to Honduras and I was thinking about how nice it was going to be sipping on a beer and eating fish and fried plantains. I was considering a trip to the store to buy one that I could fry up for breakfast... but I changed my mind when I started thinking about the starchy plantains that you get here... What I really wanted was something fresh and closer to the source... A plantain that had flavor... a plantain that I could sink my teeth into. I was craving an experience from my past and I was also thinking about creating a new one. The desire wasn't so much about food, but about the memory of the breakfasts I made when I lived in Mexico... and that stirred up a desire to create new memories (possibly ones involving steaming plates of fried plantains served with cold beer) when I travel this summer.
Plantains are a versatile food. They can be starchy like potatoes or sweet like their cousin the banana. You can eat them boiled, grilled, fried, steamed, or baked. You can make them into chips, stir them into a stew, eat them mashed, or turn them into fritters. Plantains are common all over Africa, Mexico, Central and South America. The following recipe is simple and found all over the world.
2-3 medium size plantains
salt and pepper
Peel plantain by trimming ends and making a slice from end to end (plantains are more difficult to peel than a banana). Cut the plantain into 1-inch slices. Heat the oil and fry the pieces until they start to turn light brown. Remove from oil and drain slightly. Place each piece on its flat end and crush into small patties of chips. Return to oil and fry until golden brown. Drain on paper towels and sprinkle with salt and pepper. If you prefer you can cut the plantains into thinner slices and omit the crushing and re frying. Serve with salsa and sour cream.
What do plantains have to do with Ivory you ask? Why did I jump to this tangent? Well it is simple. Alloco (fried plantains) just happen to be the National dish of the Ivory Coast. Also when you cut open a plantain the fruit is.... well... ivory colored. A stretch I know... but sometimes you have to stretch a little in order to flex your creative muscles.