Monday, June 20, 2011

A Banana Wonder Salad: Plantains, Cocoa Nibs, Cashews and Feta

I've been wanting to make a "banana" recipe for some time. I should have a reason to like the yellow fruit besides the fact that it rhymes with my name. 

The problem is that I really don't like bananas
I avoid anything banana flavor - gladly donating any shared banana inspired communal desserts with table guests, pretending to disguise my secret disgust when friends "make OMG mom's banana bread," and looking the other way whilst passing those yellow-green boomerangs in the grocery.

I ask my mom what happened to me as my little brother downs nanners like the second coming of ape man.
She tells me I used to down them too.

Still no idea what caused the hate.

I just know I've avoided them since I can remember.
I guilt myself into eating the occasional banana per spontaneous wannabe pro athlete trainings (using coffee as a chaser to combat that tinge of weird sweetness communicated by my taste buds). 

The one exception are plantains - I love them!

Changing subjects I was gifted a bag of raw cocoa beans from my MBA classmates. Everyone in my cohort tried the beans during a presentation and all made pucker faces at the onset of pie hole conception except for my professor and me. He nodded and I nodded back as we passed the bag to each other for seconds. Yeeeyah.

I thought of this salad out of indulgence: richness from the sweet custardy plantains complemented and contrasted at the same time by the fullness and the bitterness from the cocoa bean combated with sweet roasted cashews. I added feta because it's salty. Plus I am Greek and I can't make a Banana Wonder salad without something Greek. I drizzled avocado oil on top because it's sweet and helped to further meld the flavors. All in all, I thought this unusual salad turned out great and it made for an indulgent semi-tropical summer salad that I will be making more of in the future.

Banana Wonder Salad: Fired Plantains, Cocoa Nibs, Cashews and Feta

1 ripe plantain
1/4 cup coca nibs (or bean ground up)
1/3 cup roasted cashews
1/2 cup feta, crumbled
4 cups of mixed baby lettuces
avocado oil
sea salt

Slice plantains about 1/4 inch thick and fry in skillet on medium with avocado oil until golden brown. Meanwhile prepare lettuce either by mounding on plates or in a big bowl. When plantains are golden, arrange on salad, sprinkle on feta, cashews and cocoa nibs. Drizzle with avocado oil and sprinkle with sea salt.


Anonymous said...

ohhhhh, this salad looks great! I don't ever cook with plantains, but I might have to try.

Ok, you may have explained this before, but if you hate bananas, what gives with the name?

Peter G | Souvlaki For The Soul said...

Interesting that you don't like bananas! I love all your creations-especially your Greek inspired ones! This looks delish! Plantains are so good!

Jayanthy Kumaran said...

looks absolutely tempting..;p

Tasty Appetite

Lenia said...

Oh my God,it looks fantastic!Thanks for sharing,dear Anna:)

FOODalogue said...

ooh...I had to read this twice to fully appreciate it. Creative!

Banana Wonder said...

Mary - I hope you do! Banana rhymes with Anna :-)

Peter - Thanks, gotta add a little Greek touch to everything :-)

Jay - Nice of you to stop by!

Lenia - Thanks lady!

Foodalogue - two times a charm? I hope!

Niki (of SI) said...

Your recipe had me at plantains. And cocoa nibs, mmm. I love ordering plantains when I'm out and about, but now want to cook with them myself, for the first time. Thanks for the inspiration. :)

Dewi said...

I love plantain, taste is irresistible. Yum!

Helen said...

Wow! That's is a gorgeous salad! I love cocoa nibs. I have some in my cupboard waiting for a batch of cookies but every once in a while I snack on them too :) I've eaten plantain chips before but not fresh plantains. Do they taste like sweet potato at all? As for bananas, I eat them occasionally, but I am by no means a fanatic like my husband who eats 7 (or more) per week!!

elly said...

This looks like an awesome, salad. Very Anna banana indeed. I LOVE plantains but I'm just kinda meh on bananas, so I feel you.

Banana Wonder said...

Niki - Thanks :-)! Love your blog. Yeah I know what you mean about always ordering plantains when out -- never can resist!

Elra - There needs to be more plantains in life, in general.

Helen - Your husband's eating habits parallel those of my little brother... does he also get the occasional seagull above his eyes as well>?

elly - Thanks, I hope that one day plantains dominate over bananas. Then my blog will truly be vintage.

Kung Food Panda said...

I would have thought the flavors of plantains and bananas would be similar, other than the fact plantains are sweeter.

Anonymous said...

That's too funny, I just assumed you loved bananas. I hate them too! And yes, I find that plantains are the one exception. Glad to know you're a fellow banana hater. :)