Ecuadorian food is delicious! The inspiration for this recipe came from a recent Cooking as a First Language class in Tupelo. Try these soon for a simple summer meal.
Recipe and photograph by Lauren McElwain
4 green plantains
2 cloves fresh garlic
1 bunch cilantro
Juice of 1 lime
2 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and pepper, to taste
½ teaspoon cumin
Fresh mozzarella cheese
Bring a pot of water to a boil, and peel the plantains. Cut them into medium-sized chunks, and boil with 1 clove of garlic until tender (about 10 minutes). Pour into a strainer in the sink, and let cool while you make the cilantro pesto.
To make pesto, in a food processor, combine 1 clove of garlic, cilantro, lime juice, olive oil, salt and pepper. Process until ground into a pesto consistency. Transfer (leaving about ¼ cup in the food processor) to a medium bowl.
Cut the mozzarella cheese into chunks (about the size of a grape), and dredge in the bowl of cilantro pesto. Set aside.
Transfer the plantains to the food processor with the ¼ cup of pesto. Add cumin, and pulse until mashed but still chunky.
To make the balls, grab about a golf-ball sized amount of the plantain mixture. Working with your hands, flatten it, and place some of the pesto-dredged cheese in the center. Form the plantain “dough” into a ball around the cheese. Continue this process until you have used up all of the plantains.
Heat oil in a deep fryer, and when it’s ready, drop the balls in and fry until golden brown. Transfer to a paper towel, and sprinkle with a bit more salt.
Serve with fresh fruit or veggies, along with extra lime wedges, and eat while they are hot and the cheese is melted.
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