There are piles of cookbooks and culinary textbooks in every room of my house, and whether it’s for work or pleasure I’m always in the kitchen surrounded by amazing flavours. I love to cook but most of all I love to learn about other cultures through food. So, when an assignment pops up to cook a food I’m completely unfamiliar with, instead of turning it down I jump on it [bless you – ed] because by the end I usually have a new-found respect for different flavour combinations.
For example, in honour of the upcoming World Cup, the Jamie Oliver team thought it would be a fabulous idea to feature recipes from participating countries. Great! Now guess who got Costa Rica? Yes, the girl from Texas. But part of what is so wonderful about global events such as the World Cup is how it showcases different parts of the world. Plus I can tell a plantain from a banana, so I’m at least on the right track.
As with any assignment, I dove right into research; a little tasting from the local Latin deli didn’t hurt either. What I found is: (a) I need to plan a trip to Costa Rica very soon and (b) Costa Rican food is very flavourful, mild, and fresh – but practically every meal has rich black beans in it. Wrap that all up together, and I am one very happy girl intoxicated with the flavours from our Latin friends down south.
Inspired by all of these bright and bold flavors, I’ve created a simple, healthy, and delicious snack using some of Costa Rica’s favorite foods: black beans and plantains. Plantains are just like bananas, except they are larger, have a higher starch content, and are typically eaten cooked. For this recipe, we’ll use green plantains instead of ripe plantains because their firmness will crisp up nicely in the oven. Perfect for an appetiser, after-school snack, or even game-day grub, these crispy baked plantain chips with a luxurious black bean dip will leave you surprised at just how approachable and delicious these exotic flavours can be.
Crispy plantain chips with black bean dip
Black bean dip
½ tbsp canola or rapeseed oil (expeller pressed)
1 small yellow onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, peeled and minced
15 ounces black beans*, cooked
¼ cup fresh cilantro (coriander) leaves
Juice from 1 lime
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
crumbly cheese such as Maduro or queso fresco, to garnish
2 green plantains
1 tablespoon canola or rapeseed oil (expeller pressed)
1 teaspoon sea salt
½ teaspoon chilli powder
In a frying pan, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic then sauté for about 8 minutes, or until translucent. Add beans and cook for another 2 minutes. Place in a blender or food processor with cilantro, lime juice, salt and pepper. Purée until smooth and creamy, then scoop into a bowl with and crumble the cheese on top, if desired.
Next, preheat oven to 210°C/425°F/gas 7, position baking racks on the upper and lower thirds and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
Peel and thinly slice plantains 5mm (1/8-inch) thick. Transfer to a bowl and toss with oil, sea salt, and chili powder. Place the seasoned plantains on the prepared baking sheets, making sure not to overlap, and put it in the oven. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, rotating baking sheets and flipping plantains halfway through baking, until crisp and lightly golden. Remove from oven and allow to rest on the baking sheet for 5 minutes before serving.
Plantain chips will soften slightly at room temperature, so they are best when served immediately. To get them crispy again you can reheat them on a baking sheet in the oven at the same temperature for 5 minutes.
*Note: If you’re using canned black beans, rinse beans prior to use.
For more countries from Jamie’s Foodie World Cup, click here.