When we think of Puerto Rico we usually think of beautiful beaches, piña coladas, rum punch, great music and our Caribbean cuisine, of which mofongo is sometimes considered the star attraction.
Mo-fon-go por favor pero con mucho, mucho “chicharrón”. That is how I order my mofongo. Please with lots and lots of pork rind.
Every Puerto Rican restaurant has mofongo on the menu. It’s a must try for first time visitors who want to claim to have sampled the local fare. Mofongo is mashed fried green plantains into which a combination of seafood, meat, or vegetables can be added. It is also served as a side or a main course.
I like mine the old fashion way. Mashed with garlic a bit of olive
oil, salt and that artery clogging chicharrón. The best chicharrón comes from a town called Bayamón. These pork rinds, affectionally called “chicharrón de Bayamón” or “chicharrón volaó” are delicious. Here is a picture from one of my trips to Bayamón.
How to peel a plantain:
There is a saying in Puerto Rico: Soy Puerto Riqueño porque tengo la mancha de platano = I am Puerto Rican because I have the stain of the plantain. When you are peeling the green plantain for this dish it always leaves your fingers stained. After washing your hands a few times the stain will go away.
You will need your “pilon” (mortar and pestle). Every Puerto Rican home owns one or two.
Mine is quite new…here comes another husband story. I owned about 6 different “pilones”. I had them given to me or inherited from an
aunt and one from my mom. I loved those two because they were already cured and mainly because they had history. I wanted to put them in storage while we were moving into our new condo. At the time I made boxes to donate to the church and the box that had to go to storage. I guess you can figure out what happened…yes he did… he gave them to the church. I ran to claim them, but they were all gone. Every time he sees me take out my “pilon” he quickly leaves the room. He gets the laser look and this has been going on for close to six years. Never mess with a Puerto Rican woman’s “pilon”.
Ingredients (makes two main and four sides):
3 green plantains
1/2 lb. fried pork rinds
3 cloves garlic, minced
Salt to taste
Vegetable oil for frying the plantains
Peel the plantains and slice into 2” rounds as shown above. Heat oil in a frying pan at medium-low heat. Oil should be hot, but not sizzling. The plantains should be cooked through, but not browned.
Drain your plantains on a paper towel. In your “pilon” add minced garlic equal to ½ a clove or a bit more depending on how much you like garlic, about 6 pieces of plantain, a teaspoon of olive oil and your pork skin. Begin to mash until all the ingredients are combined, the resulting mofongo is shaped into half spheres, according to the mortar or bowl. Once plated pour your gravy around the bowl.