by Nicole Rees
from Fine Cooking #109, p. 66-73
I used to think bananas were just snack food, a portable, pre-packaged solution to food on the run. Even when great midwinter fruits and vegetables were scarce, I overlooked the bin of fresh yellow bananas every time I scanned the produce department with dinner in mind. It never occurred to me to look at them through a cook’s eyes.
That all changed when I wanted to add some spark to my cooking and looked to my Caribbean, Mexican, and Asian cookbooks for inspiration. Bananas cropped up everywhere, even in main courses. It makes sense that tropical regions, which grow bananas year-round, would find phenomenal ways to use them, but the dishes were a revelation to me. Fish curry with bananas? Delicious. Bananas with pork? Yum. I got the banana bug and kept cooking, even adding them to more familiar fare, like brownies. A little mashed banana in the batter, I discovered, made them rich and fudgy.
Now, I can’t help but stop at that banana bin. It’s my midwinter savior, a guarantee of fabulous sweet and savory meals to come.
|Thai-Style Halibut and Banana Curry with Peanuts||Lemon-Glazed Banana Scones with Crystallized Ginger|
|Overnight Banana Sticky Buns with Pecans||Pork Braised in Banana Leaves with Manchamantel Sauce|
|Banana Split Brownies|
Photos: Scott Phillips