For some reason (that I cannot quite decipher) quinoa is all the rage right now. Sure it's a healthy heirloom grain (according to Wikipedia, the most accurate source of information, it has a balanced set of amino acids making it the most complete protein in the plant family), but it's kind of expensive (so much so that people in it's native Bolivia aren't really able to afford it anymore) and the taste, while alright, has nothing on bacon. I don't really understand the craze, but we've been using it at work so much that I finally decided to give it a try at home.
Quinoa, as I mentioned before, comes from South America, most notably Bolivia, Peru, and Ecuador. At work we use quinoa in recipes with a variety of styles from Californian to Tex Mex, but I wanted to highlight quinoa's origin and create an original dish inspired by South America.
I have never been to South America. Guatemala is the closest I have come so I drew on experiences from that trip to create this dish. I figured it was close enough. Black beans, corn and plantains were staples for us on that trip and so I wanted to highlight those ingredients in this dish.
Twice Fried Plantains with Quinoa, Black Bean and Corn Salad
For the plantains
3 plantains (I used ripe ones, but next time I'm going to try it with green ones)
3 cloves garlic
Flour, for dredging
Salt and pepper, TT
1. Peel and slice plantains 1/2" thick. Fry slices of plantains either in a deep fryer (if you're lucky enough to have one) or pan fry them in a saute pan with an inch of oil over medium low heat. Fry until golden brown on all sides.
2. Smash plantains in a bowl with the garlic cloves and some salt. Form into patties, about an inch around and 1/2" thick. Dredge in flour and re-fry in the same oil. Fry until the patty is golden brown and crispy.
For the Quinoa Salad
1/4 cup canola oil
1 cup white quinoa
2 cups water
1 red onion, diced
2 jalepenos, minced1 cup black beans, cooked in a large pot by simmering in water
1 cup frozen corn, thawed
1 bunch scallions, sliced thinly
3 TBS cilantro, minced
2 roma tomatoes, small diced
1 bunch collard greens
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup lime juice
Salt and pepper, to taste
1. Heat canola oil in a large pot. Sweat onions and jalepenos for 3 to 4 minutes, or until onions are translucent. Add quinoa and toast for 1 to two minutes. Cover in water and simmer until quinoa is cooked.
2. Meanwhile heat a little more oil in a saute pan. Add garlic and sweat for 1 minute. Add collard greens and saute for 4 to 5 minutes or until greens have wilted.
3. When quinoa is almost cooked, add beans, corn, tomatoes, cooked collard greens and season with scallions, cilantro, lime juice and salt. Cook for 1 minute more and enjoy hot or cold.