Crowd Pleasers Dank Dinner

Camarones a la Criolla con Patacónes (Shrimp with Fried Plantains)

16th January 2016

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Hello, it’s me. Back with another tantalizing flavor explosion. It’s Saturday morning, it’s raining outside, and I’m sitting in bed with a cup of coffee. It’s go time. I made this dish the other day for my mom and cousin. Simple recipes like this are always crowd-pleasers in our house because they focus on a protein, incorporate veggies, are super hearty, and this one is even gluten free, homies.

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This recipe is inspired by a dish at one of my favorite local Puerto Rican restaurants, Sol Food. It’s shrimp sautéed in a flavorful tomato sauce, often served over rice with fried plantains and fresh garnishes.

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Patacones (also called Tostones) are popular in much of South and Central America and the Caribbean. While they are banana relatives and have a very similar appearance, they are much starchier in texture, like a potato. The riper they get, the sweeter. Green plantains are unripe and fry up like potato chips. Black, ripe plantains are softer and sweeter, producing more caramelization when cooked. I’m a big fan of sweet and salty, so I prefer a riper plantain (mostly yellow) for this. Sprinkle with salt right out of the fryer and they are perfectly soft yet sturdy, piping hot, sweet, salty, mmmmm!

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There are so many ways you can make these, so there’s really no way to “mess up”. You can fry thin slices, thicker medallions, mold them into a bowl, or smoosh them into planks and twice fry them, like I did. If you want crunchier, sturdier “chips”, deep-frying is that way to go. Riper plantains can be cut lengthwise and pan-fried in shallow oil for a really simple meal with fried eggs and rice.

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Get on the plantain train and put this in your mouth.

 

Prep Time | Cook Time | Total Time

20 mins     | 15 minutes |   35 mins

Serves 4

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 lb shrimp (I thawed frozen shrimp, peeled & de-veined)
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 1 small onion, julienned
  • ½ cup red wine
  • 2-3 yellow plantains
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tsp crushed red pepper
  • canola oil, for frying
  • avocado
  • For pico de gallo
    • ½ jalapeno, minced
    • 1 large tomato, diced small
    • ¼ brown onion, diced small
    • Small handful cilantro, stems and leaves, chopped
    • Juice of ½ lime
    • 1 clove garlic, minced

 

METHOD

To make the pico de gallo, mix ingredients in a small bowl. Allow to sit while you prepare the rest of the food. The longer the flavors have to combine, the better.

Now onto the plantains. In a medium-sized pot, pour in canola oil, 3-4” deep. Chop plantains at a slant into fourths. Heat 3 tablespoons olive oil in a pan at medium heat with 3 cloves garlic. Sautee for 2 minutes, then remove and set aside in shallow dish. Take a thin slice of plantain and drop into oil to test. It should sink halfway down then rise to the top. If it just sinks, the oil is too cold. If it sizzles at the top immediately, the oil is too hot. When you have it at the right temperature, throw in the plantain slices. When golden brown, remove with a slotted spoon and place on paper towel. Taking the flat bottom of a glass, gently press down on each slice, make a pancake, then fry again until golden brown. Remove from oil, drain on paper-towel lined plate, and sprinkle with salt. Allow to cool slightly, the brush with the garlic olive oil.

Take thawed, peeled, and de-veined shrimp and pat dry with a paper towel. Heat 3 tbsp canola oil in a large pan or cast-iron skillet. I like the cast iron because it can stand up to high heat. Do not use olive oil here for this same reason. Heat the pan to medium-high and sautee onion strips. Stir infrequently, allowing the onions to get some caramelization, for about 5-7 minutes. At this point, reduce the heat to medium and add in the garlic. Push the onions to one side of the pan and add shrimp into the other side. Allow shrimp to cook for 2 minutes on one side, then a minute on the other. When shrimp are pink and just barely cooked through, remove them from the pan (leave onions in pan). Add in the red wine, diced tomatoes, and crushed red pepper. Stir to combine and reduce the heat to low for 5-7 minutes. Stire in 2-3 tablespoons butter. If too much liquid has evaporated, add some more red wine to thin out. Add shrimp back into pan, stirring to warm through for 2 minutes. Remove from heat.

Serve shrimp with patacones, avocado slices, pico de gallo, and fresh cilantro. You may also serve it over rice. Enjoy!

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