Foods from the Dominican Republic: Mangu with queso frito (fried cheese)
Yield: 6-8 servings
For the mangu
4 unripe plantains
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
4 teaspoons olive oil or butter
1 tablespoon onion powder (optional)
1 cup water, room temperature
For the onion garnish
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 large onions, chopped
1 tablespoon fruit vinegar
1/4 teaspoon salt
For the queso frito
12 slices Queso de Freir cheese, (2-inch-by-3-inch slice, a quarter-inch in thickness)
1/4 cup oil, for frying
1/2 cup cornstarch
Method of Preparation
1. To prepare the mangu, peel the plantains and cut lengthwise, then divide each half into two. Remove the center where the seeds are located.
2. Boil plantains in enough water to cover them, plus an inch, until they are very tender. Add the salt to the water before it comes to a boil.
3. Remove plantains from water and mash them with a fork until they are very smooth and there are few to no lumps. Mix in olive oil (or butter), onion powder, and water. Continue mashing and mixing until it a smooth puree develops.
4. For the onion garnish, heat one tablespoon of oil in a skillet over low heat. Add the onions and sauté until translucent. Stir in vinegar and season with salt to taste.
5. For the queso frito, add oil to a fry pan and heat over medium heat.
6. Coat cheese slices with cornstarch and shake off excess.
7. Place the cheese into the hot oil on one side until it turns golden brown. Turn and repeat.
8. To serve, place a serving of the onion garnish and the mangu in the center of the plate. Top with a few pieces of cheese. If serving family size, follow same serving procedure using a large platter.