IslandBites: Pickled Green Bananas (Guineitos en escabeche)
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What is escabeche?
Escabeche is the name of number of dishes in Latin cuisine. It refers to a cooking technic, similar to pickling. The food, mainly fish or vegetables, is marinated in fried olive oil, vinegar, onions, bay leaves and peppercorns.
In Puerto Rico, the most popular escabeche is made with green bananas. It is served cold or at room temperature. Guineos en escabeche is a staple during the Holidays, alongside arroz con gandules, pernil and pasteles.
- Cut and clean the gizzards.
- Add water, salt, 1/2 onion and 2 garlic cloves to a pot.
- Bring to a boil. Add the gizzards. Let it simmer until tender, for about 2 hours.
- Let it cool and cut into small pieces.
- 15 green (unriped) bananas
- 1 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2 cups olive oil
- 2 large onions, 1-1/2 sliced (reserve 1/2 for the gizzards)
- 8 garlic cloves, 6 sliced (reserve 2 cloves for the gizzards)
- 1 tbs whole peppercorns
- 2 dried bay leaves
- 1/2 lb chicken gizzards, cooked (optional)
- 10 pimento stuffed green olives, sliced (optional)
- 3/4 cup white vinegar
- Cut off the ends and make a slit lengthwise on each banana. Add water, milk, 2 tbs of oil and salt to a large pot. Boil the bananas for 12 to 15 minutes or until fork tender. The banana must be firm but the skin should peels off easily.
- Remove the bananas from the hot water and let them cool.
- Cut the bananas into 1/2 inch pieces. Reserve in a large bowl.
- Add olive oils, vinegar, sliced onions, bay leaves, sliced garlic, peppercorns and a pinch of salt to a large skillet. Fry at medium temperature for 5 minutes. Reduce temperature and let it simmer for 10 minutes.
- Let it cool for two or three minutes.
- Add gizzards, olives and the escabeche to the green bananas. Mix until combined. Let it cool. Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours. (The longer it marinates the better. In Puerto Rico, we let the guineitos en escabeche marinate for at least 24 hours.) Serve cold or at room temperature.