Featured Tune: “Gritty Ciudad” by Davila 666*
While the roots of the JIBARITO (pronounced hee-bah-ree-to) are from Puerto Rico, I’m proud to say that this recipe also comes from home sweet home, Chicago. Currently living in the Logan Square/Humboldt Park area of the city, I love all the culture that the neighborhood brings – through its people, music, clothes, and of course… amazing food!
According to Wikipedia: Chicago restaurateur Juan “Peter” Figueroa introduced the jibarito at Borinquen Restaurant, a Puerto Rican restaurant in the Humboldt Park neighborhood, in 1996, after reading about a Puerto Rican sandwich substituting plantains for bread. The name is a diminutive of Jíbaro and means “little yokel”. Haha, basically, little “hillbilly” in our language. Read more on Wiki. And Puerto Rico Herald.
The sandwich’s main feature is the fried plantain, which replaces typical bread (paleo and gluten-free followers rejoice!). Smashed between the plantains are your choice of meat, a garlic “mayo” spread, onions, spices, tomato, lettuce, etc.
Here is my quick and easy recipe so you can make your very own jibarito!
Serving size: 2 sandwiches
2 green plantains
1/2 cup coconut oil
1/2 pound of steak (preferably thinly sliced)
1 tsp minced garlic
1/2 tsp. cayenne
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
1/2 tsp garlic (or to taste)
dashes of salt and pepper
Heat up the coconut oil in a medium pan, temperature staying around 325 degrees. Peel your plantains (harder than it looks!), cut them in half, and add them to the oil. Fry until they are golden yellow, about 2 minutes on each side. Tongs will help you flip and move plantains around. You can also used the back of a spoon to push into the plantain to see if it is soft enough to “smash”. If the plantain isn’t budging, leave in for a little longer.
(Above: Of course after 5 minutes of struggling with the plantain peeling, my friend goes ahead and easily slices hers open. Her nice neat plantains on the left, and my pile of mutilated peels on the right.)
Place plantains on a cutting board or flat surface. With a second cutting board, push down on the plantains to flatten them. You can make them as thick or thin as you would like, but if you make them too thin… they may fall apart. I would recommend about 1/4 to 1/2 an inch thick. Once flattened, place plantains back into the oil to fry more – about 2 minutes on each side. Once they start to brown, use tongs to remove plantains from the oil and place on paper towels to drain oil.
Heat up a second pan with oil of your choice, medium-high heat. Slice onion into rings or long slices. Add minced garlic and onions to the hot pan and let cook for 5 minutes, stirring every few minutes. Stir in cayenne, salt and pepper. Then add the steak to the pan, turn down the heat to medium. Cook until browned on each side, about 4-5 minutes each side. (Cook meat to your preference).
GARLIC AVOCADO SPREAD
Scoop out half an avocado into a bowl. Mash avocado. Add garlic, salt and pepper.
MAKE THE JIBARITO
Place the cooled plantains on a plate, spread with garlic avocado spread. Layer with cooked meat, onions, tomatoes, and lettuce.
Hope you enjoy the recipe!…
BUT, if you are ever in Chicago and have a craving for a local jibarito, check out these places:
*Davila 666 is a Puerto Rican garage rock band with an amazing sound that takes us back to the roots of punk, doo wop, swamp blues, and more from the 60’s and 70’s. Enjoy today’s tune “Gritty Ciudad”!