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Bolón de Verde: Green Plantain Bites A Holiday Recipe from Chef Christian

The Inspiration
An Ecuadorian tradition

“Plantain breaks borders. Oh! Plantain you travel without visa! Different cultures consume plantain in diverse and creative ways because that’s what plantain does — it brings out the creativity in everyone.”
— Rafiat Shittu

Cristian Asitimbay, executive chef of AKB at Archer Hotel New York and a native Ecuadorian, wholeheartedly agrees. The starchy fruit is a staple ingredient throughout the Caribbean and Central America, northern South America and Southeast Asia. Yet because it’s not as typically sweet as fruit, it’s often offered as an everyday vegetable.

One of chef Cristian’s favorite traditional Ecuadorian dishes is bolón de verde — balls of smashed unripe plantains fried and stuffed with cheese. These crispy bites of heaven are dipped in a flavorful tomato sauce with just a hint of citrus. Often made for breakfast in his homeland, bolón de verde also makes for a savory appetizer (perfect for fall get-togethers and holiday tables).

This recipe is just one way that chef Cristian celebrates his Latin culture, as well as the cultural diversity of his adopted New York hometown. If you’re preparing your own holiday meal this year, consider adding this popular South American dish to your table.

Chef Cristian Asitimbay’s freshly made plantain bites and sauce

Ingredients

THE SAUCE

  • 3 vine tomatoes
  • 6 ounces vegetable oil
  • 1 ounce lime juice
  • 1 ounce orange juice
  • 3 1/3 teaspoons salt
  • 1 red onion, julienned
  • 3 red chile peppers
  • Boil the tomatoes and cool completely.
  • To a blender, add all ingredients except for oil; blend on medium, then slowly drizzle in the oil to combine.
THE BITES
  • 5 green plantains
  • 2 ounces butter, melted
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • ¼ tablespoon black pepper
  • ¼ tablespoon garlic powder
  • 8 ounces crispy bacon, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh mozzarella, chopped
  • 2 liters vegetable oil

Directions

  1. Fill a saucepan with water (enough to cover the plantains) and bring to a boil.
  2. Peel and boil the plantains until soft, about 20 minutes. Remove from the water.
  3. Smash the plantains well, until nicely puréed.
  4. Add the butter, eggs, salt, pepper, garlic and bacon, mixing until a dough forms.
  5. Using your hands, make small balls. With your finger, make a hole in the middle of each ball and fill it with mozzarella. Cover the filling well and reshape it.
  6. Heat the oil in a saucepan and fry the balls for 3 – 5 minutes, until golden and crispy.

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