My mother, a Brazilian who grew up in Cuba, is obsessed with plantains. She grew up eating them alongside pretty much every meal and brought my sister and me up in the same way, so now my fruit bowl is never without a pile of blackening plantains. There is a plantain recipe for every stage of ripeness, from hard and green to soft and black. This recipe calls for plantains that are ripe and sweet, preferably nearly all black, with only some yellow marks. In truth, I only ever use plantains at this stage of ripeness. Unripe plantain is no substitute here because you won’t achieve the sweet, caramelised layer we’re looking for.
Serves 2 as a main or 4 as part of a spread
Photography: Liz Seabrook
Season: Late Spring/Summer
For the omelette
120g full-fat coconut milk, from a tin not a carton (at least 75% coconut extract)
1⁄2 tsp fresh ginger, peeled and finely grated (or 1⁄4 tsp ground ginger)
1 small garlic clove, finely grated or crushed
1 tsp lime zest
3⁄4 tsp fine salt
5g chives, finely chopped
5g coriander, finely chopped
40g spring greens (or spinach or kale), very thinly sliced
100g feta, broken into medium chunks
2 very ripe medium-sized plantains (460g) – they should be nearly all black and quite soft, with only some yellow marks
30g ghee or unsalted butter
1 tbsp olive oil, plus extra for drizzling flaked salt, to serve
lime wedges, to serve
For the salsa
200g extra-ripe sweet cherry tomatoes
1 tsp lime zest
1 tbsp lime juice
11⁄2 tbsp olive oil
1⁄2 tsp flaked salt
1–2 Scotch bonnet chillies (or a milder chilli if you prefer), to taste
Preheat the oven to 200°C/180°C fan. Before measuring out your coconut milk, take all the contents out of the tin and whisk well to combine the solid and the liquid then weigh out the 120g.
Add the coconut milk to a large bowl with the eggs, ginger, garlic, lime zest and fine salt and whisk together. Stir in the chives, coriander, spring greens and feta, then set aside.
Peel the plantains and slice into 3⁄4 cm rounds. You need about 320g peeled slices.
Place a 28cm ovenproof, non-stick frying pan on a medium-high heat and add the ghee (or butter) and the oil. Once the ghee has melted, layer the plantain slices to cover the bottom of the pan, then set a timer for 3 minutes, and cook without stirring or flipping the plantain, to create a caramelised, golden layer on the bottom of the pan. Lower the heat, then pour over the egg mixture to evenly cover the base and leave to fry for another minute undisturbed. The omelette should be set around the edges but still liquid in the middle.
Transfer the pan to the oven and bake for 8–9 minutes, until the omelette is just set on top, with a good wobble in the centre. Don’t be afraid of this wobble, the omelette will set a little as it cools, but also we (or at least I) want the omelette to have a soft, oozing centre! Leave to cool for 5 minutes, then use a spatula to release the sides of the omelette from the pan.
While the omelette is in the oven, make the salsa. Finely chop the cherry tomatoes into very small pieces. Transfer to a medium bowl, using your hands as a natural sieve so you don’t take all the liquid and seeds with you (otherwise the salsa will be quite soggy). Stir in the lime zest, lime juice, oil and flaked salt. Very finely chop the Scotch bonnet; they vary substantially in heat level so start with 1⁄2 a chilli, removing the seeds and pith if you prefer milder heat. Add to the salsa, stir and taste, then add up to 1 1⁄2 more finely chopped chillies, to taste.
Place a large plate on top of the pan, then quickly flip the whole thing over so the omelette ends up on the plate. Hopefully all the plantain pieces will end up on the omelette, but if not just peel them from the pan and place them back on top.
Drizzle with a little oil and sprinkle with more flaked salt. Serve with the salsa on the side, and some extra lime wedges for squeezing.
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