I had this I-want-something-Cuban craving the other day (strange right?). I looked around my kitchen and it was slim pickings (because I don’t like the cold weather. And it’s been cold, so I was too lazy to go shopping because IT’S COLD).
But I had the items I needed and ended up creating what is likely to be a new regular dish on my list of meals to make.
Using some leftover roasted pork, a sweet onion and a green plantain, I created my own plantain pork sliders.
THEY WERE THE BOMB!
You don’t need the whole onion, just enough slices that you’ll caramelize in olive oil on the stove top. Enough for about 2-3 sliders
Peel the green plantain and cut it into one inch chunks. I happen to have a deep fryer. If you don’t, you can fry the plantain chunks in oil on the stove top. Fry them for 3-5 minutes, making sure both sides get cooked in the oil.
While the onions and plantains are cooking, I tossed some shredded roasted pork into a small bowl with some minced garlic and mojo. Just mix it together briefly to moisten the pork.
After frying the plantain chunks, take them out of the fryer or pan and place them on a cutting board or flat surface. Use the back side of a large flat spatula and mash the plantain until it is almost flat and round. After doing that to each chunk, place the plantains back into the hot oil and fry another 3-5 minutes.
By the way this is the basic recipe in making Cuban plantain chips called tostones.
As the plantains get their final cooking time, take the pork out of the mojo mix and toss it into the pan next to the onions to heat up the pork.
Once the pork, onions and plantains are cooked it is time to assemble the sliders. Place a plantain chip on a plate, this will serve as your bottom bun. Top it with some of the pork and onions then use a second plantain chip as top bun.
I happen to love salsa verde (green tomatillos sauce) so I also topped my pork with a dollop of that before placing the top bun in place.
It was quick, easy and delicious.
This sandwich will only work with green plantains used as the buns, but as far as the filling goes you could swap out pork for thin sliced cooked steak, seafood or chicken.
In fact, Puerto Ricans make a sandwich called the jibarito that is basically this same recipe but with thin sliced steak as the filling.
I made my plantain buns using my tostone recipe, so they would be small round sliders, but you could also make the buns by slicing the plantain in half length-wise. You would still fry it for a few minutes, flatten it like sandwich bread and fry again until crisp.
Oh, the thought of topping a plantain and steak sandwich with a spicy chimichurri sauce just popped into my head. Or maybe a spicy garlic mayo on a plantain and chicken sandwich.
OH THE ENDLESS POSSIBILITIES.
Sometimes the best things come out of the necessity of using what you already have in your pantry or fridge. Or as in my case the best thing came out of being plain lazy and allergic to cold weather.
Send me your zany creations so I can give them a try.