This dish was inspired by an interesting appetizer I had at one of my favorite restaurants in Nosara, Costa Rica, called "El Local." For almost a year, I played with the idea of creating my own take on this dish. Finally, I came up with one that I thought would work as a proper homage.
The plantain croquettes are interesting all on their own, but the addition of the Lime-Pepper Cashew Butter adds a different level. I have also used this butter on several other dishes including grilled chicken, stirred into a broth with ramen and even as a spread on warm flour tortillas.
3 green plantain
1 teaspoon of salt
2 tablespoons of all purpose flour
4 ounces of queso fresco (or a white cheese of your preference)
1/4 cup of unsweetened coconut flakes
2 cups of oil (for frying)
Lime zest (garnish to taste)
Lime Pepper Cashew Butter (recipe below)
Bring a pan of water to boil. Cut the ends of the plantain. Leaving the peel on, cut into large chunks. Add the plantain pieces to the pan and boil for 4 minutes. Drain and peel the plantain.
In a medium size bowl, add the plantain, flour and salt. Mash the mixture until slightly chunky with the flour and salt evenly distributed. Allow to cool to room temperature.
Dice cheese into 1/4 to 1/2 inch cubes.
Begin heating the oil to 325 degrees.
Form the plantain mixture into small cups, fill with a cube of cheese and form into a ball, roughly the size of a golf ball. Roll in the coconut flakes.
Fry in small batches in the oil until slightly golden (about 2-3 minutes)
Serve with the Lime-Pepper Cashew Butter and season to taste with lime zest.
This makes about a dozen depending on how you size the croquettes.
Lime Pepper Cashew Butter Ingredients
1/2 cup of cashew butter (can be found in most stores near the peanut butter)
1 tablespoon of canola oil
1/2 ounce of fresh ginger
1 tablespoon of soy sauce
1 teaspoon of dried guajillo chiles (cayenne or habanero can also be used)
1 teaspoon of sweet coconut cream
Juice of 1 lime
1/2 tablespoon of lime zest
Lime Pepper Cashew Butter Preparation
Set aside the lime zest and oil. Place all other ingredients into a food processor. Puree until the mixture begins to have a uniform consistency. Add in the oil and continue blending until a slightly smooth texture is formed.
Remove from the food processor and fold in the lime zest.
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