Last longer than a platter of boiled shrimp.
Several months ago on a stormy rainy day (my favorite of all days) I had lunch with friends in Houston at Churroscos. We were brought plate after plate after plate of plantain chips sliced into long thin pieces and served with chimichirri and pureed mango salsa and as usual that got me to thinking about using these chips as a base for one of my old appetizer recipes. I decided to try tostones instead of a chip. You can decided whether you want a cracker or go to the trouble to fry the plantains or maybe, just buy some plantain chips.
I’m always looking for a way to reinvent a recipe. The filling for this little appetizer is one that I first used about 20 years ago for a party I catered and was always so easy to make and the fact that I could make the filling in advance made it even better. I really started using this recipe because if I put out cocktail shrimp at a party, it was gone in a New York minute. With this little bite you have the tostones (or cracker), shrimp and cream cheese. So, it’s a bit more filling than inhaling a half dozen of boiled shrimp. (And a lot cheaper too.)
If you are looking for a quick, easy appetizer, you can’t get much easier than cream cheese, shrimp, pickled jalapeños and some cilantro. Throw in a crisp plantain chip (or cracker) and a drizzle of chimichiri sauce (or not) and you have a delicious, spicy treat to serve at your next party. When I use to make these I used only the cracker, shrimp topped with the ruffle of jalapeño cream cheese mixture and a cilantro leaf for a garnish (see pic below). So you do not have to make the chimichurri or the tostones if you don’t want to.
For some reason I always loved this shrimp and spread on a cracker (and it had to be a Ritz) then I tried the plantain and knew it was a good alternative to the cracker. Using a decorating tip to pipe out the cheese onto the back of the shrimp makes a beautiful presentation.
Plantains may look like bananas but they are not. They are always eaten cooked and take on more of a potato taste where the banana can be eaten raw and are sweet in taste. So if you haven’t tried cooking plantains before, I hope you will give this a try and if you do, please leave a “hey” below and let me know what you think. Plantain or cracker, you decide.
BLAST FROM THE PAST: Potato and Arugula Salad — I love the purple potatoes in this recipe.
The garlic, onion, cilantro and parsley goes into the blender and gets chopped until very small pieces.
After removing the chopped up greens from the blender, stir in the oil, lime juice and vinegar. Then season with the salt and pepper.
Fry the plantain slices for 3 minutes on each side or until barely golden.
Refry a second time until golden brown, drain on paper towels and sprinkle with salt.
After cooking shrimp (unless you bought already cooked ones), cut in half.
Put your jalapeño cream cheese mixture into a pastry bag (or zip-lock) and put a large open star tip on. Pipe some mixture down and around the shrimp.
So you can do the shrimp with cheese in advance and refrigerate and at last minute plop it on top of cracker of your choice or you can make the chimichurri sauce and to stones and go that route.
OR, this way.
Jalapeño Shrimp Tostones
large size shrimp, boiled and chilled
1- 3 oz. pkg. cream cheese
2 Tbsp. pickled jalapeños, chopped (seeds removed)
4 Tbsp. cilantro, some cilantro leaves for garnish
oil for frying the plantains
chimichurri, make or buy (see recipe below)
Boil the shrimp with your favorite seasonings, peel and chill. If using large shrimp I always slice in half and it still looks like you have a whole shrimp on the cracker.
In a food processor or mini processor mix the cream cheese, pickled jalapeño peppers and the cilantro until well blended and you only have very small pieces of the cilantro and jalapeños. You want to be about to squeeze this through a decorators tip.
Take a shrimp and squeeze a “ruffle” of the cream cheese mixture around the back side for the shrimp. Put the shrimp on the plantain chip (or cracker) and drizzle with some of the chimachurri. Garnish with a cilantro leaf if not using the chimichurri.
1 c. fresh parsley, firmly packed
1 c. cilantro firmly packed
3-6 cloves garlic
2 Tbsp. onion
2 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
1/2 c. olive oil
1 Tbsp. lime juice
black pepper or red pepper flakes to taste
Put the garlic and onion in a food processor and pulse until finely chopped. Add in the parsley and cilantro and pulse a few times until finely chopped
Put this mixture in a bowl and stir in the vinegar, lime juice and olive oil. Stir until mixed.
Store in refrigerator until ready to serve.
This is great served with steaks on top of fish, tacos or use your imagination.