I’m currently on the Autoimmune Protocol, a nutrient-rich elimination diet that removes foods that irritate the gut, cause gut imbalance and activate the immune system. You can read more about the protocol and why I’m doing this here.
My love is like a banana and a plantain. But that doesn’t mean I’m in love with my cousin. ” (Jarod Kintz, Love quotes for the ages. And the ageless sages)
When you remove practically everything that could possibly be considered inflammatory from your diet – I’m talking sugar, grains, seeds, nuts, dairy and EGGS!* – life can sometimes feel like a conveyer-belt of protein, (healthy) fat and vegetables. And most of the time that’s ok.
But sometimes I miss bread and crackers and things that taste like they have gluten as a central ingredient…
You may remember a recent post about my take on Graham Kerr’s root vegetable soup… well, it created some commentary amongst my immediate family. Talk of both how good the soup was AND how the experience was enhanced because of the hot buttered toast that was served alongside. Of course, hot buttered toast is an impossibility on the Autoimmune Protocol, but it got me thinking – quite a lot – about finding some sort of substitute.
There is much talk in the global AIP community about the magic that is plantains.
I was a plantain virgin. To the best of my knowledge, I had never even seen one until recently, when I actively started looking for them. And, I am still far from an expert.
I am, however, a little bit hooked on plantains, now…
Plantains contain more starch and less sugar than what I know as a banana. They need to be cooked before being eaten. And, when they are green, they are always cooked or fried.
Interesting fact: plantains are the tenth most important staple that feeds the world. Plantains are treated in much the same way as potatoes and with a similar neutral flavour and texture when the unripe fruit is cooked by steaming, boiling or frying.
There is a bit of a knack to peeling a green plantain, too. Here’s a link to show you how over at Latin Food.
Plantains are not such a common sight here in Sydney and may require a little ferreting around. I found mine at the Fiji Market in Newtown. According to the very helpful gent manning the till, the reason plantains are so hard to find here in Australia is because of the ‘disease free state’ of our banana population. If allowed free rein, apparently, the plantain has the capacity to wipe out the entire banana crop production. Not good news, so plantains are restricted to a certain valley in far north Queensland…
Any-whoo – I am VERY grateful I found my first lot of plantains. Given my jars of pork lard sitting in the fridge, I decided to start my plantain education with crackers. They were a huge success, and so easy! Next time, I think I’ll try some tostones…
[recipe title=”Simon & Garfunkel Crackers” servings=”16-24 crackers” time=”75 minutes” difficulty=”easy-peasey”]
2 large, green plantains
½ cup pork lard, melted (coconut oil would also work)
1 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
1/2 tablespoon fresh sage, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, chopped
1/2 tablespoon fresh thyme, chopped
1 clove fresh garlic, crushed
½ teaspoon salt
1. Heat your oven to 150° C/ 300° F. Line a baking tray with baking paper.
2. Peel and chop your plantains into large chunks and throw them into your food processor with the melted lard, fresh herbs, garlic, and salt.
3. Give it a good whiz until a chunky, wet mixture forms. Pour this out onto your lined baking tray. As carefully as possible, smooth the mixture out with a spatula until it is about a 1/2 cm thick. Try and get it into a rectangular shape (mine are always wonky!)
4. Pop your tray into the oven for 10 minutes. Remove and score the mixture into your preferred cracker size with a pizza cutter or knife. Place back into the oven and cook for another 50 – 60 minutes until they are a nice golden brown colour.
E N J O Y ! [/recipe]
* and, I didn’t even mention coffee or chocolate!