Back in late May, we took a long road trip down to San Antonio for the RSA Conference. We hadn’t done this sort of multi-week trip since 2010, when we drove from Syracuse to West Lafayette for the Computers & Writing conference, then over to Minneapolis for RSA, and then on down to North Little Rock to see my family. This year our route went through Pittsburgh, Lexington, Memphis, Baton Rouge, San Antonio, back over to Lafayette, and then on homeward. One of the things I’ve missed about this kind of slow, car-focused travel is the unexpected opportunities that pop up alongside the road. This time, one of the more memorable ones was a South American restaurant in a converted gas station somewhere between Beaumont and San Antonio that we happened upon right at lunchtime. And lo, there were pupusas, curtido, and horchata:
It was a revelation. And of course now we are interested in Salvadoran and Columbian food, despite the fact that we’re not entirely sure where to start. Not that this has ever stopped us before. One way in is this ripe plantain frittata, which is swiftly becoming a breakfast mainstay. It reminds me of a dish described by my Venezuelan Spanish teacher many years ago, back when I was thoroughly confused by the idea of plantains and cheese together. We’ve been finishing it with comb-in honey that we picked up at Henson Brooms in Symsonia, KY on the way back home.
Tortilla de Plátano Maduro (from My Columbian Recipes)
3 very ripe plantains, peeled and diced
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
6 large eggs
1 tablespoon sugar
3 tablespoons honey
2 cups grated queso fresco or queso blanco, plus more for garnish
Heat oven to 350 degrees F.
In a nonstick fry pan over medium heat, warm the oil. Add the ripe plantain and cook, stirring occasionally, about, 5 to 6 minutes. Transfer to a plate.
In a large bowl, whisk the eggs, sugar and queso together.Place the cooked plantains in a baking pan.
Pour the egg mixture in the plantains and place in the oven and bake until golden on top, about 10 to 12 minutes.
Drizzle with honey and sprinkle the remaining cheese on top. Serve warm.