This traditional Venezuelan sandwich is naturally Paleo because it utilizes two large slices of fried plantain instead of bread. How fun is that? These are best served with the plantains fresh out of the skillet. Use your imagination with the filling, combining sauces from the final chapter, “Los Esenciales,” and meats from anywhere in the book.
- Yield: 2 sandwiches
- 1 green plantain, peeled and cut in half crosswise, then cut in half lengthwise
- ¼ cup (56 g) lard, avocado oil or coconut oil
- 1 cup (230 g) filling of choice: carne mechada, Reina Pepiada, Pollo Desmechado, sliced Churrasco
- Sauce(s) of choice: Salsa de Ajo, Salsa Verde Mágica, Chimichurri, Ají Picante
- Shredded lettuce and/or tomato slices (optional)
- Prepare the plantain “bread”: Slice the tips off the plantain with a knife, then cut 1 or 2 slits in the skin down the length of the plantain. If the peel does not lift off easily at this point, you can soak the plantain in a bowl with water and about 1 teaspoon (6 g) of salt for 10 to 15 minutes to loosen the skin.
- In a large skillet, heat your fat of choice over medium heat until shimmering, 3 to 5 minutes. Carefully add the plantain pieces to the heated fat, cooking on each side for 3 to 5 minutes, or until they have turned a darker, more golden color. Do not allow to brown. Drain on a paper towel-lined plate.
- Use a large plate, cutting board or baking sheet to flatten the plantains: Place the plantain pieces between 2 pieces of parchment paper to prevent sticking. Press firmly and evenly. Take care not to break up the pieces once they are flat.
- Working in batches, return the flattened plantains to the hot fat and fry for an additional 3 to 5 minutes per side, until browned and crispy.
- Drain on a paper towel–lined plate.
- Serve fresh with the filling and sauce of your choice. Some suggested pairings: carne mechada with salsa verde mágica; sliced churrasco steak with chimichurri; reina pepiada with tomato slices; pollo desmechado with ají picante.