I put my hand upon your hip.
When I dip, you dip, we dip.
Ahem. Sorry. I just couldn't help it, So after procrastinating last month and having to rush to melt a back up dish for Crazy Ingredient Challenge, I vowed to not let that happen this month. As soon as the final votes were on, I started planning a dish using this month's winners - coconut and pesto. I had a pretty good idea of what I wanted to make. That was until a friend challenged me to avoid making bread. It wasn't exactly bread that I had planned but fiiiine, I'd step away from my flour crutch.
Stepping away wasn't easy. Coconut can be hard to highlight since it's flavour is so subtle. I eventually decided a chickpea salad/dip. Still clutching to my bread love, I thought I'd make a sandwich using this whimsical bread that I made. My owl is a little drunk/sad but he still makes a good sandwich.
Somehow, even after all that planning and a vow to not procrastinate, I found myself running to the supermarket at 11pm on the 18th to grab basil and coconut milk. Oops! And guess what? The supermarket was out of basil! Since it was too late to go elsewhere, I had to switch gears. I grabbed cilantro for a cilantro pesto then made a last minute decision to ditch the chickpeas. Instead I went with baked plantains. Really delicious and later this week, I'll still cook a batch of chickpeas to mix with the dip.
The plantains are twice baked in the style of the fried tostones. Growing up, my mother would often make these on weekends. She' fry them though. I don't think we have a particular name for them in Jamaica. I just knew them as the best plantains ever. But I know Latin American and African countries have a variety of names for them.
Be sure to scroll down to see how others used coconut and pesto!
Coconut Cilantro Pesto Dip with Baked Plantains
Coconut Sour Cream
1 can coconut milk
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon vinegar
1 teaspoon oil
salt, to taste
Coconut Cilantro Pesto Dip
2 packed cups cilantro, chopped
1/4 cup nuts of choice
1 jalapeno pepper
2 cloves garlic
2 tablespoons shredded coconut
1 tablespoon lime juice
2 - 4 tablespoons oil (coconut or olive oil)
salt to taste
coconut sour cream
2 green plantains
oil for brushing
Place the coconut milk in the fridge for at least two hours. If short on time, you can place it in the freezer. After the can has chilled, carefully open the can. Do not shake the can at all.
Scoop out the cream that has solidified at the top. Reserve the remaining liquid for smoothies or Jamaican rice and peas.
Mix together the lemon juice and vinegar and stir in a little at a time into the the coconut cream. Taste and add enough to reach your desired taste. Stir in oil and salt. Place in the fridge to chill and solidify a a little.
Put the cilantro, nuts, jalapeno, coconut and garlic into a food processor. Process until well-blended. Add the lemon juice then drizzle in the olive oil until you have reached your desired consistency. Err on the side of a thick peasto as you will be stirring in the coconut sour cream that will thin it considerably. Additionally, aim for a really spicy pesto since the coconut sour cream will mute the heat quite a lot. Stir in salt to taste.
Mix the cilantro pesto and the coconut sour cream. Taste and adjust with salt or acid, if necessary. Chill until ready to use. It will thicken the longer it sits in the fridge.
Preheat the oven to 400F.
Slice the plantains into 1 inch pieces. Brush the pieces with oil then place on a greased baking pan. Bake for 10 minutes.
Remove from oven and flatten the plantain pieces. My mother usually used two saucers so that's what I did. Brush with additional oil and sprinkle with salt. Bake for another 15 minutes or until the plantain has reached the desired crispness. You can place it under the broiler for just under a minute if it's not reaching your preferred colour.
Serve warm with coconut cilantro pesto dip!
Everything above is totally customizable. Taste at each step and adjust where you see fit. You may want more or less coconut. You may want less heat or more acid. There's no messing it up.