Tuesday 12 August 2008

Jerk & plantains

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!


Darius T. Williams said...

I love them both...jerk and plaintain go soooo well together. This looks great.


Alicia Foodycat said...

Glad you like it Darius - from someone who actually likes jerk and plantain that is high praise!

kat said...

Oh we have jerk on the menu this week too, it must be going around. The plantains sounds really good to me. i've never made them before but they are really popular fried in San Francisco

Sarah said...

Plantains are wonderful; we see them in our grocery store often here in South Florida. I love to pan-saute one-inch slices in just a tiny bit of oil with a sprinkling of salt. When they are tender and caramelized, I'll squeeze a wedge of lime over them and serve them up. Yum!

Sonya said...

You get into a vegetable rut? Really?

Alicia Foodycat said...

Kat - I think food bloggers have a hive mind! The number of times I have been thinking about cooking something and discovered everyone else is doing it too!

Sarah - I think your slices are probably a better idea than my chunks, it was hard to get them to cook evenly.

Sontology - I sure do! The rut usually gets lifted when something special comes into season, but then when I have eaten courgettes every day for a week I think "Gee, I would really like some asparagus flown from Peru at great cost to the planet".


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