Last night we had not one but two new vegetables! Which is pretty cool really, because it is so easy to get in a rut with the veg.
So, this all started when Norm posted a stonking looking jerk-rubbed ribeye. We love jerk seasoning. The combination of heat and depth and vinegar really is fantastic. We've done jerk pork and any number of jerk burgers, but never jerk beef. It seemed like a good idea.
In Waitrose on the weekend there was a nice piece of prime rib, just the right size to be a bbqing cut for the two of us. Unfortunately the weather was uncooperative, so I roasted it instead - 190C for about 45 minutes, after a solid smearing with Walkerswood jerk paste. This gave a much better-done piece of beef than we would usually eat, but it was perfectly succulent and the connective tissues had all gelatinised. It was almost like eating brisket.
Thinking about suitable accompaniments I remembered that my friend Kim had been talking about doing plantains recently, and Waitrose stocks green plantains (disconcertingly next to the bananas. I bet lots of people get caught out). I figured that a tin of callaloo (a green vegetable a bit like spinach) and fried plantains would be culturally appropriate with my jerk beef.
Well. Plantains are weird. Peeling them is quite difficult, and the skin oozes an icky, sticky sap that oxidised really quickly and was extremely difficult to get off my hands. But then I cut them into chunks and fried the pieces in a splash of olive oil with some slivers of garlic, mashing them down slightly to increase the surface area in contact with the pan. When they were crisp and brown, I gave them a sprinkling of salt and some allspice. They are very dry and starchy - almost like a roasted chestnut.
So despite ignoring rule number 1 and expending effort cooking something without knowing whether I would like it, this was a great success. Plantain is not going to be on high rotation, but it'll definitely be on my table again. And next time I might add some coconut cream to the callaloo, to see if I can approximate the flavour of the taro leaves in coconut cream that I remember fondly from my childhood. Not that I need the saturated fats!