Arepas de Plátano Maduro with Pickled Lentils-
If you attended the Lentil Table dinner last August at Eagle Mount, you KNOW I had an excess of plantains, 80 pounds to be exact. What do you do with the overage? You give it away, have a recipe contest, more about that later, and make plantain arepas to give away to your clientele and friends.
Here is that recipe in case you want to make a batch at home.
My family and friends in Colombia and Panamá enjoy them for breakfast, onces, ( a mid-morning snack), and whenever they find them in the fridge or kitchen table.
It is important that the plantains be ripe, and that means, the peel should be almost or all black. When the plantain is this ripe, it is a guarantee that it will be as sweet as cane sugar. In this savory presentation, we pickled lentils with brine from a pickle jar, added some spicy chipotle, tomatoes, and poblanos. A little fried platanitos on the side make the dish a meal.
If you want to keep it plant-based, substitute the queso fresco with a vegan option like VioLife cheese.
Ingredients for the Arepas
2 large ripe plantains, peel black or almost, sliced diagonally
3 TBSP coconut milk
4 TBSP Natural Balance or Kerrygold butter
1 teaspoon coconut sugar or cane sugar
1/2 cup arepa harina P.A.N
Kosher salt to taste
3/4 cups of queso fresco or feta or added salt or crumbly plant-based cheese, crumbled
Coconut or avocado oil for frying
Add 2 TBSP of the oil in a non-stick pan.
When the oil is nice and hot, add the plantain and fry until it is golden brown. It may darken because of the high sugar content.
In a paper-towel-lined plate, place the platanitos once they are cooked ad allow to drain excess oil.
Once the plantains cool off, place them in a mixing bowl and mash with a masher or the back of a fork.
Add the P.A.N. , the crumbled cheese, and the milk. Season with salt to taste.
Knead thoroughly and allow for all the ingredients to combine.
With an ice cream scooper, or with a large spoon, shape the masa into a ping pong ball and flatten it with your hands or with the back of a saucer.
Add 2 TBSP of the butter to the same non-stick pan and cook the arepas for 3 minutes, flip, and cook for an additional 2 minutes on the second side.
Serve hot with more butter, cheese, or with the lentil salsa.
Lentils Salsa Ingredients
1 cup cooked green lentils, follow instructions on the package
1/2 cup of brine from a pickle jar
1 medium tomato, cubed
1 canned roasted poblano pepper, rinsed and sliced thin
1/4 teaspoon of chipotle in adobo sauce
2 teaspoons ketchup
1/2 teaspoon sugar
Kosher salt to taste
1/2 cup of chopped cilantro
Directions for Salsa
Combine all ingredients in a bowl and allow to marinate for at least 1-2 hours, or overnight.
Serve with arepas and crumbled queso fresco.
* Note- we stored the plantains in a brown bag for a week so they would get nice and ripe.