Easy Weeknight Dinners // Un-Recipe No. 12:
Fried Plantains And Chimichurri Stuffed Sweet Potato
4.5 stars stars based on 8 reviews
A South American-inspired baked sweet potato stuffed with fried plantains, buttered cashews, toasted coconut and smothered in vibrant parsley-mint chimichurri. Pin this post.
Baked Sweet Potatoes (pssst: >> how to bake the perfect sweet potato)
Prep For Stuffed Sweet Potato With Fried Plantains:
2. Make The Chimichurri: Chimichurri is a traditional Argentinian sauce that can be made from a variety of fresh herbs like cilantro, oregano, parsley or mint and is commonly served over meat like lamb. The chimichurri-inspired sauce that I created for this un-recipe is so delicious you could drink it as your morning green smoothie! Roughly chop one jalapeno and a clove of garlic and place into a high-speed blender or food processor. Add a few handfuls of mint leaves and parsley leaves. Pour in the juice of one lime, a half cup of olive oil and a spoonful of honey. Add a few pinches of the spices and a shake of salt. Pulse until well combined. The sauce can be served chunky like a thin salsa or be whipped into a puree. It will taste delicious either way.
3. Fry The Plantains In Coconut Oil: Heat about half a jar of coconut oil in a large wok. Slice four large, ripe plantains into thin, quarter-inch discs. Make sure to select plantains that are ripe — they will look almost rotten compared to a banana but will still be firm to the touch and have a slightly greenish hue inside. Plantains are starchier and lower in sugar than bananas, so they don’t taste very good in raw form. But like most things, they’re amazing when they’re deep fried. 😉
When the oil is very hot, place half the plantains into the wok. Let them fry for about 5 minutes until golden brown, knocking them around with a spatula to make sure they don’t burn or stick to the sides of the pan. When they have developed a fried crust, remove from the wok and place on a plate lined with a paper towel. Sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar. Add more coconut oil to the wok if necessary and fry the remaining plantains. It’s important to do this in two shifts so the plantains have ample room to come in contact with the oil and develop an evenly fried crust. You don’t want them to be over-crowded and fry together in a big deep-fried clump.
4. Pan-Fry The Cashews: Heat a dollop of Earth Balance in a small non-stick pan. Stir fry a handful of raw cashew pieces in the butter over low heat until they are golden brown.
5. Assemble The Fried Plantain Stuffed Sweet Potatoes: Drizzle a little of the chimichurri sauce into the center of each baked sweet potato. Stuff each sweet potato with lots and lots of fried plantains. Sprinkle with a few of the buttered cashews and a couple pinches of the toasted, shredded coconut. Finish by drizzling more of the sauce over everything. This meal goes well served next to a bed of fresh greens tossed in a little of the leftover chimichurri sauce.
Mint. Cool and refreshing — fresh mint in a dish is simply invigorating! To figure out what to pair with mint just think about what you’d mix into a mojito; sugar, salt and lime naturally complement mint in a cocktail and that same formula can be applied to sauces and salads. Use a couple tears of mint leaves in the side salad and drizzle with lime to integrate the flavors and unite the meal.
For The Win:
Deep Frying. A couple tips for successful deep frying:
1) Be careful, don’t leave this unattended. I mention this as a reminder to myself. If you’re like me you are probably rushing, multitasking or socializing (or drinking copious amounts of wine) while cooking (or all of the above?). This is one of those tasks that deserves full attention.
2) Oil should be hot. Don’t rush it by placing the ingredients in too soon, this will result in a mushy texture. Wait until the the oil is bubbling and you could a harsh sizzle when you add anything.
3) All the plantain disks should have a consistent thickness so they fry at the same rate.
4) Use an oil that can hold up to frying. Olive oil has a low smoke point and breaks down when cooked at high heat, compromising the integrity of the oil and releasing dangerous free radicals.
5) Dust the plantains with cinnamon and sugar immediately after removing them from the hot oil to maximize the absorption.
Texture. This SSPM is a medley of contrasting textures — smooth, buttery cashews; gritty, crunchy coconut; crispy fried plantains that melt in your mouth; cool sauce, meaty sweet potato. As always, it’s better to overcook the sweet potato then undercook it. This dish is truly a feast for all the senses, take it in. Ah, summer.