February 6th, 2019
Growing up as a first-generation Nigerian-American, many Nigerian parents, including mine, would “strongly suggest” that their children become doctors, lawyers or engineers. So when it came time to go to college I picked what seemed to be least stressful, engineering. In college, I came to find that this suggestion wasn’t peculiar to only Nigerian parents, my college friends from Cameroon, Kenya, India and a myriad of other countries frequently recounted similar stories; hence the reason to why many of us were studying engineering. Our group study breaks were often filled with discussions about our diverse backgrounds and home cooked meals on the days we couldn’t make it to the dining hall. During all-nighters, my Kenyan friends would whip up what was left in their fridge and pantry, which most times were plantains, eggs, tomatoes, and onions. In a couple of minutes, we’d have a budget-friendly and tasty home-cooked meal.
While college is a few years behind me, my mouth still waters whenever I think of that meal. I’ve also learned that plantains are a staple in many meals from different cultures, especially in West African, Latin and West Indian countries. When I get a chance to take a dish to a potluck or host friends at home, I make my “almost vegetarian”plantain frittata. A frittata is traditionally known as an Italian dish, so my I guess I could say my take is a West African & Italian fusion. It’s sweet, spicy and savory. It’s super easy to make and the addition of smoked chicken sausage makes it a bit more filling and a potential single serve dish. It’s a crowd pleaser and can easily be a vegetarian meal by leaving out the smoked chicken sausage. If you happen to make this for your next brunch, potluck or just because, it will definitely have mouths watering.
Plantain Frittata Recipe
yields 8-10 servings
2 ripe plantains
½ cup chopped red bell peppers
½ cup chopped yellow bell peppers
½ cup chopped green bell peppers
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup chopped tomato
1 teaspoon sliced habanero chili pepper (optional)
1 teaspoon chopped garlic
1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
2 teaspoons smoked paprika
2 tablespoons cooking oil
1 cup chopped mushrooms
1 ½ cups of smoked chicken sausage (omit if preparing vegetarian dish)
Salt and black pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 350 F
Cut plantains into ¼ to ½ rounds, bake or fry them until they are golden and set aside
In a separate bowl, mix all the eggs, add salt and black pepper to taste, then set aside.
Heat the oil in a large frying pan (I used a 10-in skillet) over medium heat. Once hot, add the onion and garlic to the pan with a pinch of salt and cook until translucent– about 3 minutes.
Add peppers, smoked chicken sausage, mushrooms, and smoked paprika ti and sautee mixture until peppers are soft- about 5 minutes.
Take the pan off the stove and let cool for 10-15 minutes
Once the pan is cool, pour egg mixture over the pan and gently mix so the egg is evenly distributed.
Top pan with prepared plantain circles, starting with the outer section and working your way to the middle until the pan is completely covered with plantains.
Cover with aluminum foil and bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes, check every 10 minutes until a toothpick or knife comes out of the middle clean.
Sprinkle chopped cilantro over frittata, let cool for 10 minutes, then serve.