During the recent Gridiron madness, I had to miss a party for which I was supposed to be one of the hosts. My husband attended in my stead, at my friend Bonnie Judd’s home out Hakepu’u way. He returned with a plate for me (thank you, honey, I needed it badly when I got home from a loooong day of two performances) and a hand of cooking bananas.
The other day, I finally got around to doing something with the bananas which had been starting accusingly at me from their spot on the kitchen counter. Knowing that pork pairs well with fruit, I decided to make a cooking banana relish. After a little lightning-speed research among my cookbooks and online and a troll through my cupboard, I had a plan, though, I admit, not a very original one.
The fat, short bananas — I used three of them — were still quite green so I first sliced them and boiled them in a mixture of pineapple juice (drained from a large can of crushed pineapple) and water until they had softened a bit. Having drained the liquid, I sauteed the fruit in a couple of tablespoons of butter until they were slightly caramelized, added half the can of crushed pineapple, sprinkled on some salt and a little cinnamon, drizzled a few tablespoons of honey over the mixture and allowed it to slowly continue to brown and cook. The result was chunky relish, sweet but not too sweet with just a hint of cinnamon (I didn’t use much because I didn’t want an apple pie effect).
This worked wonderfully with a couple of pan-fried pork chops laced with sliced garlic and just a bit of jus made by splashing on some of the pineapple water used to cook the bananas.
I’m going to work on this recipe. I’m thinking to add some heat with a bit of chili relish or fresh red chili. Or maybe I’ll go a sweet-spice route with Chinese five spice and ginger. Or perhaps I’ll take a Thai turn with lemongrass, coconut milk and chilies.
So many recipes, so little time.