In FOR LOVE OR VENGEANCE the Cuban FBI Agent hero, Miguel Sanchez, takes his partner and love interest, Helene, to eat at a Cuban-Chinese restaurant. Yes, Cuban-Chinese. A unique mix, but many Chinese immigrated to Cuba to work the sugar plantations and their take on Cuban food is delicious.
Miguel and Helene might have ordered a dish like today’s recipe – Fu Fu. Now, there are lots of variations on Fu Fu and others make similar dishes, like Mofongo. The difference is a combination of the kind of plantain used and what’s added to the mashed plantains.
This is my family’s variation on it. We always used green plantains which are not as sweet and therefore give you a dish that’s more like mashed potatoes than variations made with ripe and semi-ripe plantains. If you like sweet, let the plantains turn yellow or go to black and try your own mashed variation.
A caution about plantains. Although Latins will often call them bananas, they are very much a vegetable and cannot be eaten raw. They must be cooked and Latins have all kinds of dishes, like plantain chips, ripe plantains (maduros), squashed flat plantains (tostones), etc. They are a staple much like potatoes and rice.
Cuban Mashed Plantains
4 green plantains
1 chopped onion
2 gloves garlic
4 chopped slices bacon
Cut the plantains into one inch chunks. Cut a slit or two across the skin (from end to end and not along the circumference) until you reach the flesh of the plantain. This will help you peel them once they are boiled. The skin will split away from the plantain beneath while boiling.
Boil until fork tender. Make sure to put some salt in the boiling water.
Cool and peel as soon as possible.
Cook the chopped bacon until almost crispy. Remove some of the bacon grease and add the chopped onion. Cook until almost caramelized and then add the garlic. Cook for a few more minutes.
While you are waiting for the final cook of the bacon/onion/garlic mix, mash the plantains. Do not mash them too much. You do want some texture and different sizes and you don’t want it to get gluey. This is especially true if you are using a ripe one.
Once mashed, top with the cooked bacon/onion/garlic mix. Drizzle a bit of olive oil over the top and serve.
Yummy, trust me. I mean, it’s got bacon. What doesn’t taste good with bacon? LOL!