Memories of the homeland were never far from the minds of our displaced Afro-Caribbean ancestors. Despite isolation from friends, family, tribes, and community, they brought with them a shared memory and a collective knowledge of how and what to eat. This knowledge has been passed down over generations, and it never ceases to amaze us how intricately connected we still are to our motherland, Africa. With dishes like this one, inspired by a popular African street food, it is easy to see that the roots of our dining habits are deeply entrenched in a shared heritage with our ancestors from across the seas. Our friend Nadine from the Ivory Coast speaks so passionately about the delicious street food from her homeland that it makes us drool. Here, the combination of sweet plantain, spicy pepper compote, creamy avocado, and tart lime makes for a simple and fresh snack or side. Add the crunch of roasted peanuts, and the result becomes a totally different take on the typical roasted provisions of the Caribbean.
- Place the peppers, tomatoes, garlic, onion, scallion, and Dijon mustard in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel chopping blade. Pulse several times until the mixture is wellcombined but chunky. Scrape the mixture into a small saucepan. Cook over medium heat for 3 to 4 minutes, until the mixture thickens. Add salt and pepper to taste. When the sauce resembles chunky salsa, it is ready. Transfer to a sanitized container and store in the refrigerator.
- Preheat the oven to 400°F.
- Place the plantains, with the skins still on, on a baking sheet, and pop it in the oven. Roast them for 35 to 40 minutes, until cooked through. (Alternatively, you can cook the whole, unpeeled plantains on a grill over a medium flame.) Keep the plantains warm until it’s time to serve them.
- While the plantains are roasting, spread the peanuts on a smaller sheet pan, and place them in the oven as well. After 10 minutes, remove the peanuts from the oven, and set aside, keeping them warm.
- Slice the avocados in half, remove the pit, and scoop the flesh out of the skins. Roughly mash the flesh, and arrange it on a serving plate. Squeeze lime juice over the avocado, and dust it with paprika, cinnamon (if using), cayenne, and sea salt.
- Roughly chop half the peanuts, and sprinkle them over the avocado. With the skins still on, slice the plantains in half, and add them to the platter. Dollop or drizzle the plantains with African Pepper Compote. Garnish the platter by sprinkling the remaining whole roasted peanuts over the top.
Recipes excerpted from Provisions: The Roots of Caribbean Cooking—150 Vegetarian Recipes by Michelle Rousseau and Suzanne Rousseau. Copyright ©2018. Available from Da Capo Lifelong Books, an imprint of Perseus Books, LLC, a subsidiary of Hachette Book Group, Inc.