From Linda Cicero’s Cook’s Corner Column
1/2 cup dried red beans
1 bay leaf
1/4 cup olive oil
1 large white onion, diced
4 garlic cloves, chopped
11/2 tablespoons ground cumin
4 tablespoons dried oregano
1/4 cup tomato paste
1 tablespoon lemon juice
4 green plantains
1/4 cup high-heat oil, such as safflower
1 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
Fresh cilantro and lemon wedges for garnish
Place the beans and bay leaf in a pot with enough water to cover. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer and cook until tender, about 1 hour. Drain.
Heat the olive oil in a skillet and sauté the onion and garlic until translucent, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the cumin and oregano; cook for 2 minutes longer. Add the tomato paste, lemon juice and cooked beans. Transfer to a food processor and puree.
Blanch the plantains until they turn brown-black. Cool and peel. Cut into 1- to 1 1/2-inch slices. Heat the oil in a skillet over high heat and fry the plantain slices until tender, about 5 minutes, being careful not to burn.
One by one, place slices between two sheets of plastic wrap and roll with a rolling pin to a 1/4-inch thickness, using a rolling pin to create a plantain patty (or use the heel of your hand to smash it down). Return to the pan and cook for 3 minutes on each side, until edges are crisp, being careful not to burn.
Spread patties with bean puree, sprinkle with cheese and serve with cilantro and lemon wedges for garnish. Makes 6 servings.
Per serving: 380 calories (34 percent from fat), 15.8 g fat (4.8 g saturated, 5.7 g monounsaturated), 17 mg cholesterol, 10.8 g protein, 54 g carbohydrates, 7.8 g fiber, 156 mg sodium.