Plantains for potatoes
So here I am with my life partner planning a barbecue for our friends back in summer '17, playing around with some ideas, wondering what things will they like, how can we come up with something different, special, something they can remember... We've done a bunch of bbqs before, and they always seem to like what I cook, but it was time to try something else.
We were quite inspired back then but didn't take ourselves too seriously. We were building up a menu for that day, openly proposing even the silliest stuff (Note to self: it's true what they say about babbling whatever pops to mind during a brainstorm). Mixing, pairing and well basically, having fun.
From Colombia to Québec, and back again
We came to talk about dessert. We wanted to surprise but we wanted it to be something that somehow represented us. We are a bi-racial couple (if race is even a thing beyond just a human construct). We have 2 children that have grown inevitably in the middle of our two cultures. From spanish, to french to english in one sentence, whichever works better to convey an idea - and even beyond language, food has been something we've learned to rediscover along with our children - a sweet rediscovery for us all :)
So talking about bbqs and cultural mixes, we stumbled upon a sweet treat that's quintessential in most colombian bbq: sweet plantain. This is basically a plantain that's super ripe (the one that has this burnt yellow to almost black appearance on its peel) and it's thrown just like that in the grill. Heat steams the inside while the peel protects it from getting burnt. At times it's unpeeled, cut from top to bottom just enough to create a kind of bed, and a 'doble crema' cheese and bocadillo (a guava thick jelly) is placed in the middle of the cooking plantain, and the taste is actually quite interesting, although a bit too sweet and still slightly slimey in the middle.
Poutine was the muse
So here we are: Cheese. Plantain. Cheese. Bocadillo. Cheese. Cheese. Cheese... Poutine? Just to provide some context for those souls who have never had the chance of trying a poutine from Québec: It is a mix of fries, squish-squish cheese (curd cheese) and gravy. It's so incredibly tasty that is has become the signature comfort food québécoise, and its popularity has reached all of canada, and extended from Chicago to Europa.
Ok so cheese... right? we got it. Plantain can be given the same treatment as a fry, and then bocadillo... but gravy is so much more fun in terms of texture... if only we could do bocadillo sauce... wait a minute... Bocadillo comes from guava, guava can be turned into jelly which I guess can be called a "sauce" without hurting anyone's feelings. Let's just do it or die trying!
And so, our "Colombian Poutine" was born
So I'm poutine all the efforts (heh). Boiling the guavas, aiming to create a similar consistency to gravy for looks. If I can nail this down I may change history!! Ok let's calm down, maybe not, but at least this is fun!
So we serve the whole, same way you'd serve a poutine and oh man... it's alive! This thing could've been a miserable fail, but it was the greatest idea we've had so far. People at the bbq where completely full and yet against their better judgement they kept asking for more. We barely had the chance to try it. It was a hit.