Friday, October 4, 2013

Mofongo and Eggs

The problem with becoming a professional food writer -- and hear me say, I am so not complaining -- is that you spend all your time cooking for a camera and sending your recipes off to an editor. I miss just sharing them with you, getting to tell stories about the food, launching into brief but satisfying political diatribes, and talking about food simply for the sheer pleasure of cooking and eating.

So, after working full time in Santa Monica as a staff writer and editor for the last several months and helping launch a new online magazine, I'm thrilled to be back to my freelance career with a bit of time to spare indulging in this blog. This is my first post since March, so I thought it should be good -- no pressure -- and waited until I had something worth sharing.

A couple weeks ago Rich and I went on a surf date at Venice Beach and then hit up this adorable brunch spot called Sunny Spot. Nothing is more satisfying that a strong cup of coffee and a huge messy platter of savory food after two hours in the ocean. Topping the brunch menu was Muh-F'k'n Mofongo and Eggs. (Yes, that's it's actual name.) Mofongo is native to Puerto Rico or the Dominican Republic and typically contains mashed, fried plantains and garlic with pork. Sunny Spot took mofongo to the next level though with caramelized fennel, applewood smoked bacon, fried eggs and Sriracha. Seriously. Really, really, really good.

Plantains look like large, angular bananas, but they're starchier and less sweet, making them a perfect ingredient in savory cooking. So, get your hands on some and whip up mofongo.

For each serving
2 slices applewood smoked bacon
1/4 fennel bulb, cored and thinly sliced
1 teaspoon fresh ginger, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 ripe plantain, peeled and sliced on a bias
1 egg, fried  
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
Cilantro, for serving

Cook the bacon over medium-low heat until it renders a significant amount of fat and is cooked through, about 10-15 minutes. Remove the meat and reserve two tablespoons of grease.

Cook the fennel and ginger for about 5-7 minutes, until fragrant and soft. Add the garlic and cook for another minute. Remove the mixture to another dish, leaving as much of the oil in the pan as possible.

Add the reserved bacon grease and turn the heat up to medium-high. Fry the plantains, browning them on each side. Remove them to a large mortar and pestle and mash together with the garlic and fennel mixture. Cut the bacon into small pieces and add to the plantain mash.

 Meanwhile, return the skillet to the stove and cook an egg sunny side up.

To serve, place the mofongo in the center of a serving bowl, top with the egg, garnish with cilantro and drizzle Sriracha around the plate.


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