Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Plantain & Coconut Soup with Shrimp, Avocado & Tomato Salad

It has been HOT and sunny here the past few days. Sounds weird that I made a soup, but it tastes like something you would eat on vacation on an island somewhere. It is awesome.

I've always loved plantains and and they give this soup a sort of sweet potato flavor. Don't leave any ingredients out of this one, the combination of everything mixed together works so well. Sounds kinda funky, but it is surprisingly delicious.

Plantain & Coconut Soup with Shrimp, Avocado & Tomato Salad
Recipe adapted from Emeril Lagasse at

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/3 cup small diced salt pork or pancetta 
  • 1 cup small diced onion
  • 1/2 cup small diced carrot
  • 1/4 cup small diced celery
  • 1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 2 teaspoons curry powder
  • 2 pounds yellow plantains with slightly green tips and some black spots, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 2 quarts chicken stock
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt and more to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper and more to taste
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3/4 pound medium shrimp, peeled, deveined and diced
  • 3/4 cup diced tomatoes
  • 3/4 cup diced avocado
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh cilantro leaves, plus sprigs for garnish
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • paprika
Set a Dutch oven over medium heat and add the olive oil to the pan. Place the salt pork or pancetta in the pan and render until crispy, about 6 to 8 minutes then remove and discard with a slotted spoon. Add the onions, carrots and celery and cook until the vegetables are tender and the onions are translucent, 3 to 4 minutes. Add 1 tablespoon of the garlic and the curry powder and saute until fragrant, 30 to 45 seconds. Add the plantains and stock and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until the plantains are soft, about 45 minutes.

Add the coconut milk, 1 teaspoon of the salt, and the pepper, and using an immersion blender, or in batches in a bar blender, puree the soup until smooth. Stir in the lime juice and keep warm until ready to serve.

(Make sure you taste the soup here and adjust the seasoning. I used light, unsweetened coconut milk and my plantains could have been a little riper, so I cheated and added a couple dashes of brown sugar and a bit more coconut milk to get the sweetness where I wanted it to be. I probably would not have needed to do this if I used regular coconut milk and ripe plantains. The end result should be a nice balance between the sweet plantain and coconut and spicy curry.)

Heat a 10-inch saute pan and, when hot add the butter. When the butter has melted add the remaining 2 teaspoons of garlic. Season the shrimp with the a few dashes of salt, pepper, and paprika and add them to the pan. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the shrimp turn pink, about 3 minutes. Add the tomatoes, avocado and cilantro to the pan and season with the remaining 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Remove from the heat.

Spoon the soup into a bowl and top with a few tablespoons of the shrimp salad. Top with sour cream and cilantro to garnish.