Ladies and gentlemen, may I introduce you to my Plantain, Prawn and Kale Hors d’Oeuvres. Three of my favourite ingredients in one meal. I am going to write very little on this post because there isn’t a whole lot to say – except that these are absolutely fantastic – and that even if you are not big on swearing you will need to be super vigilant when you taste these. You might make certain unexpected exclamations. You might embarrass yourself. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.
I made these first for a big luncheon here in Lagos, and I had to ask people to chill out a bit and leave enough for other people to have some. It was so funny. Of course they paid me no mind and scoffed away, and the people who came late got none. I mean, I tried. But I wasn’t about to put myself in the way of a herd of charging elephants to save food for late comers.
I want to live long, so I stepped aside. I have since made a few other versions, and the thing I really love about this dish is that it is very Nigerian but also very international. For those of us who dually inhabit each moment with both local and foreign sensibilities, I find that these fusion dishes are both a gastronomical and intellectual treat. But I promised you not too much talking today, so sssshh, Minjiba!
As always, pictures and recipe below. Enjoy. x
Plantain, Prawn and Kale Hors d'Oeuvres
A delicious starter or sharing platter using key West African ingredients like plantain, palm oil and prawns, and global superfood, kale. Can also be made with spinach.
2 - 3ripe but firmplantainssliced into thickish diagonals
kosher saltto taste
1bouquetfresh kalewashed and sliced
1/2teaspoonpowdered cayene pepper
1 pinchpowdered crayfish
sprinklechilli flakesfor garnishing
Start with the kale. Heat the palm oil in a pan, and then add the onion followed quickly by the kale.Stir fry for a minute, and then season with salt and cayenne pepper to taste. Add a pinch of powdered crayfish. Once it is well combined, take it off the fire - you don't want it to go limp. Set aside.
Now, do the prawns. Season them with the lime and some salt and then shallow fry in a non-stick pan. Use about 3 tablespoons of the sunflower oil to fry them for about a minute or two on each side. Set them aside on a plate to rest and then move onto the plantain. P. S. You can grill the prawns in the oven or steam them for a more healthy version.
Fry the plantain (or dodo) as it is more affectionately called. Oh plantain! Let me count the ways I love thee... Y'all know how to fry dodo already so I don't need to spell it out. You sha fry the plantain in the leftover sunflower oil, drain it really well, blot with paper kitchen towels and set aside. P. S. You can also make this with AirFried, grilled or boiled plantain to avoid all that oil - your choice!
Finally, time for assembly. Find yourself a worthy platter that will show the food off well. Figure out your arrangement by placing the plantain on the platter first. Then, you can begin to layer up with the kale as a second layer, followed by the prawns perched prettily on top. This way, you are not moving precariously balanced towers of food around if for any reason your platter arrangement doesn't quite work the first time around.
To finish, brush the centre of the platter with some palm oil if you're feeling arty, and then sprinkle crushed chillis over the entire offering.
Serve to your guests and try not to get trampled. Good luck :)