For me Mothers Day is a good day for reflection. I consider myself fortunate to have had a close relationship with my mother. For most of my childhood it was her and I against the world. My mom, Marilyn, was amazingly talented and brilliant. Marilyn could tell stories that would have you rolling on the floor in laughter, make a friend anywhere she went, and cook an amazing dinner from almost nothing.
When I was six she developed breast cancer. I learned from her what true grace and strength looked like as she fought it and won. This doesn’t mean she wasn’t a little crazy around the edges. Those who knew her loved her for her kind, generous, loving, and quirky self. My world collapsed when she passed in 2005. Thankfully I have the gifts of knowledge and love she left to me.
Mom and I had a weekend ritual of eating a big breakfast and then going garage sale hunting, two of our favorite pastimes. Sometimes she made hash browns, fluffy biscuits, perfect over-easy eggs, and bacon. One time she had some leftover bacon and sprinkled it on the pancakes she was making, and that became my favorite. Having been a short order cook before she went to college, she had a way of ensuring that everything came out perfect, and all at the same time. That’s a skill I still work on.
The original recipe from my mom wasn’t GF, dairy free, or grain free. It has taken a while to get this to the perfect balance I craved from childhood. Please don’t be daunted by the plantain. This recipe is rather simple and goes together quickly (faster if you use packaged bacon bits). I have seen plantain in almost every store with fresh produce, and it is usually very inexpensive. I have seen it priced from $.65 to $1.25 a pound. You can use a GF pancake mix for this meal, but if you’re adventurous like me you will wonder why you never tried plantain before.
Green plantain is more potato-like (starchy and fibrous) in nature than banana-like. Once it ripens to a splotchy yellow-black, it sweetens a bit and gets softer, but it still tastes bitter until cooked. It’s used in Asia, Central America, and Africa for savory as well as sweet dishes (depending on the ripeness). The plantain offers more fiber, potassium, vitamin C, A, and B complex than a banana. Sometimes you’ll find it prepared as chips (tostones), or mashed and fried with onions. Plantains are perfect for those sensitive to the nightshade (potato) family, or they’re just a fun new ingredient to experiment with.
- 4 Green plantains peeled and sliced
- 4 large eggs
- 2 tsp vanilla ( I use vanilla bean paste.)
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 4 tbs melted coconut oil
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 2 tsp agave
- 1/4 c coconut cream or non dairy creamer of choice
Optional for Bacon and Salt Crusting
- 10-15 strips crispy bacon ( I use applewood smoked, but if you’re a maple fan I’d recommend maple bacon
- 1-2 tbs smoked salt
Set oven to 375 and preheat. Line a large cookie sheet with foil and place grid or rack om top so grease will drip into the pan. Lay out bacon close together on grids and place in hot oven for 10-15 minutes till crispy. I strain the warm grease and refrigerate for use in future recipes. Crumble or tear bacon for pancakes, always remembering to make extra bacon for sampling.
The green plantain can be quirky to peel. Slice off and discard the top and bottom. Slice the remainder into four pieces and cut a line down one side of the skin. Usually I can slide my thumb under the peel and remove it. Make sure to remove any hard brown spots. If skin doesn’t want to come off easily then I use a knife to slice it off. Slice the peeled plantain and put in the blender. Process until smooth, stopping to scrape down the sides once or twice. I use a high speed setting on the blender, but a food processor will work just fine. Add the eggs, vanilla, baking soda, baking powder, oil, salt, and agave and blend till thoroughly mixed. It should be the consistency of a milk shake or pudding. If it’s too thick, add some of the cream, but only add a little at a time to keep from over-thinning.
Heat skillet on medium to medium low heat. Spread a couple of drops of oil with a paper towel to prep the pan. Use a small ladle to dispense 1-2 inch rounds onto the hot pan. Take a small pinch of salt and lightly dust the tops of the pancakes, then place the crispy bacon pieces on top. When small bubbles form and sides dry out a little the pancake is ready to flip. Pancakes puff a little and are ready to be removed within a minute. All pans and stoves are different, so I always make a tester pancake about the size of a quarter to check for heat settings. If the bottom is turning brown before it’s ready to flip, reduce the heat a bit.
We love these served with organic butter and topped with homemade syrup. Whip cream, bananas or any favorite fruit goes nicely on top also.
Rum Molasses syrup
- 1c +1/2 cup water
- 1 c dark brown sugar
- 1 tbs molasses
- 2 tbs spiced dark rum (if prefer without alcohol use 1 extra tbs of molasses, 1/4 tsp allspice, and 1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar)
- 2 tsp vanilla bean paste (vanilla extract is fine)
- 1 tbs corn starch (if sensitive to corn look for organic non-GMO variety, or just use tapioca starch)
Use a small sauce pan over medium heat to add 1 c water, 1 c brown sugar, all the molasses, and rum or vinegar and spice if omitting the rum. Bring to a low boil, reduce heat and let simmer for 5-10 minutes stirring frequently. Mix the corn or tapioca starch into the 1/2 cup water and whisk into the simmering syrup; it should thicken a bit. Add the vanilla and let simmer gently for 2 minutes longer. Keep on low heat until time to serve.