Legend has it that the Jibarito sandwich was invented here in Chicago, right up the street from my apartment at Borinquen Restaurant. The sandwich uses twice-fried green plantains in place of bread, which is not only ingenious, but totally awesome for someone who whats to avoid gluten or grains. Since I live just on the cusp of little Puerto Rico, I can walk to the bodega down the block and buy green plantains any day of the week, which I love.
I used chorizo patties and made my Jibaritos into burgers topped with raw milk cheddar cheese, strips of roasted poblano, and delicious homemade mayonnaise. I wish I had thought to make a batch of quick-pickled red onions to serve on the burgers, and I definitely recommend you do that if you have the time. Their piquant flavor would have been the perfect accompaniment to this ultra-rich sandwich. Dill pickle slices would make a great addition as well.
*makes 4 burgers*
For the mayonnaise:
2 egg yolks
juice of ½ a lime
1 clove garlic, smashed
¾ C. melted palm or coconut oil
salt to taste
Place the yolks, lime juice, and garlic in the food processor. With the machine running, very slowly drizzle in the melted oil in the thinnest stream possible. Once the mixture begins to thicken (about halfway through adding the oil), you can add the oil in a thick stream to finish. Whiz in salt to taste and set the mayonnaise aside, covered.
For the fried plantains:
2 large green plantains
palm or coconut oil for frying
Green plantains are very tough, so they don’t peel easily like a run-of-the-mill banana. For best results, cut both ends off of each plantain and then score the skin once all the way down the length of the plantain with a paring knife. Dig your fingers into the cut and carefully pull the peel away from the plantain. Sometimes a bit of the plantain comes with, but that’s life.
Cut the plantains in half into approximately two equal pieces, and then cut each half lengthwise so that you get 4 pieces total from each plantain.
Heat the oil over medium to medium-high heat in a large saute pan so that it’s ¼ inch deep (this will depend on the size of your pan – I used about 1 C. of palm oil). Test the oil to be sure it’s hot enough by placing a corner of one of your plantain pieces in the oil. If it sizzles, it’s ready. Fry the plantains in the oil for approximately 2 – 3 minutes per side or until very lightly browned. The plantains need to become soft enough to smash, so check them to be sure they yield slightly to the touch before removing. Once slightly softened, transfer to wax or parchment paper to cool. Turn off the heat under the oil for now (you will use it again later). Allow the plantains to cool slightly, about 5 minutes.
Once the plantains are cool enough to handle, place them, two pieces at a time, on wax or parchment paper on a flat surface (counter or cutting board). Leave a few inches of space between the two pieces of plantain and cover with another sheet of wax or parchment paper. Using a large, heavy pan (cast iron is good) or another cutting board, smash the plantains until they are about ⅛” thick. Transfer the flattened pieces to a plate or platter, and continue until all of the plantains are smashed. This can be done several hours in advance.
To re-fry the plantains, heat your oil once again and cook the smashed plantain pieces, 3 or 4 at a time, for just a few more minutes, until golden brown and crisped. Transfer to a platter and sprinkle with salt while still hot. Allow to cool slightly before serving.
For the Burgers:
1# chorizo, bulk (you could also use cased chorizo sausages – grilled and then cut in half lengthwise)
Form your chorizo burgers into shapes that roughly match up with the shapes of your flattened plantains and then grill over medium heat until just cooked through.
Quick Pickled Red Onions:
1 large red onion, sliced into thin, even rings
2 C. Apple Cider Vinegar
2 C. water
1 Tbsp. honey
1 tsp. salt
3 whole cloves
Bring the water, vinegar, honey, salt, and cloves to a boil (don’t put your face over it!). Add your onions and stir to coat thoroughly. Cover and turn off the heat, allowing the mixture to cool for several hours or overnight. Transfer the onions and liquid to a bowl or jar and store in the fridge for up to 1 week.
Other topping ideas:
Shredded Cabbage or Lettuce
Roasted Poblano Strips
Assemble your Jibarito in whatever manner your little heart desires and dig in!