Mofongo Sandwich: Bring Puerto Rican Flavor to Campus
The other day it reached 70 degrees in Middletown, which, for this time of year, is something of a very late Christmas miracle. With the sun in full swing (that’s a term, right?), the buzz of spring in the air, and flip-flops on my feet, some friends and I headed down to Miller’s Pond for a picnic. Except for a few dog walkers, we were the only people there, and it felt like we were getting a sneak peak into summer all to ourselves. Score.
With local produce still a few weeks away in New England, why not try this mofongo sandwich based on a dish from Puerto Rico? It’ll be sure to hit the [spring-fever] spot.
Mofongo is a Puerto Rican dish of fried, smashed plantains served with meat, or seafood, and broth. For my adaptation, I fried and smashed some plantains and served them with a creamy, spicy sofrito of onions, peppers, chilis, bay leaves, and sour cream, along with slices of avocado. It’s a juicy, complex sandwich with layer upon layer of bright, spicy flavors.
If you’re enjoying the warm weather, and you’re thinking, “I want to add mo’ mofongo to my life,” now’s the time.
Ingredients (makes four sandwiches):
8 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 green plantains, peeled and sliced into 1/4 inch rounds
1 clove garlic, mashed into a paste, plus 1 clove minced
1/2 teaspoon salt, plus more to season
1 large yellow onion, peeled, halved, and sliced into 1/4 inch
1/2 green bell pepper, seeded and sliced
1 serrano chili, seeded and diced (or jalapeño pepper)
1 chipotle pepper from a can of chipotle peppers
2 bay leaves
1/2 cup of beer or water
2 tablespoons white vinegar
1/3 cup sour cream
1 avocado, halved and thinly sliced
4 hamburger buns
To make the sofrito (sauce), add three tablespoons of oil to a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the onions and bell peppers and cook five to seven minutes until hot. Add the serrano chili, chipotle pepper, bay leaves, vinegar, and the half cup of beer or water. Taste and season with salt and pepper. Transfer to a bowl and allow to cool.
To prepare the plantains, heat a large skillet on medium heat and add the three tablespoons of oil. Add the plantains in a single layer and cook five to six minutes on each side until cooked through and browned. Remove to a large bowl and finish cooking in rounds, adding more oil if necessary.
When all the plantains are finished and placed in a bowl, toss with the smashed clove of garlic and half teaspoon of salt. Using a spoon or whisk, smash the plantains until they start to fall apart. Taste and add more oil if they seem to dry. Set aside.
When the sauce has mostly cooled, incorporate the sour cream.
To assemble sandwiches, lay the open burger buns on a work surface. Top evenly with the fried, smashed plantains and spoon over the sauce. Top with avocado and serve at once.