This plantain salad is enhanced with homemade vinaigrette and avocados. | tchakayiti.com

Plantain salad, to have or not to have?

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What is the point of a plantain salad? I’ve asked this question countless times. I have yet to come up with an answer. So today, I will try to justify this recipe while also hoping to convince myself that a plantain salad is worth the extra effort.

See, plantains are an integral part of our culinary culture. Boiled, fried or pesées, we eat them every day at dinner or lunch time. It’s even a requirement for some. I speak from experience. I have a father at home who swears only by dinners that include plantains.

Though one can easily get used to having plantains on the daily menu, this culinary tradition can sometimes become tiring.

I think it’s the need for a change that triggered my mom a few years ago. One day, out of nowhere, she decided to serve us a plantain salad. We were not quite happy about it. Especially me. I kept asking myself why she had gone through all that trouble. To me, nothing was wrong with a good old boiled plantain. I could not understand why it needed a make-over.

My mom only had one answer to my complaints. It was time for something new on the menu. She couldn’t eat the same thing over and over again like we had done for years. I couldn’t agree with her more. I will always be among the first ones to preach how important it is to innovate in the kitchen. But this plantain salad leaves me skeptical.

This plantain salad is enhanced with homemade vinaigrette and avocados. | tchakayiti.com

What’s in this plantain salad?

It is a mixture of boiled plantain, onions, shallots and parsley drizzled with a vinaigrette. Some people also include capers or olives into the mix. There’s no need for me to tell you that the onions and shallots don’t sit well with me. You know we don’t quite get along.

Since none of us at her table seemed to welcome this salad, my mom abandoned the idea. For years, she stopped including it on the menu. Yet, this past weekend she was going to change her mind. She was determined to have a plantain salad. And she was going to prepare it whether we liked it or not.

Thing is, we had just harvested some plantains in our lakou lakay. She absolutely wanted to try them in a salad. I was reluctant at first. But I finally gave in. She had agreed not to overpower it with onions. Actually, she skipped them altogether to my great surprise. She even accepted my avocado add-on. I’ve always been a sucker for a bite of combined plantain and avocado. My taste buds were happy.

I must agree that this time around this salad was fitting. It added a new touch to an otherwise boring menu. And that is the main reason why I am serving it to you today. I’m even including the onions in my recipe 😉

Haitian-style plantain salad with avocados

Please don’t hate me for not including proportions. Since I am not a fan of onions, I probably wouldn’t be fair in the amount I suggest. I thus highly recommend that you sample this salad as you go and adjust all the ingredients to your taste.
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes

Ingredients

For the vinaigrette

  • 1 part apple cider vinegar
  • ½ part water
  • 3 parts olive oil
  • 1 or 2 chopped garlic cloves
  • Salt & Pepper to taste

For the salad

  • 2-3 medium sized plantains
  • ½ avocado optional
  • Onion to taste
  • Shallots to taste
  • Green Bell Pepper to taste
  • Fresh Parsley
  • Salt & Pepper to taste

Instructions

For the vinaigrette

  1. Combine all the ingredients and set aside

For the salad

  1. Wash the plantains
  2. Transfer them to a pot filled with salted water
  3. Boil them until fully cooked
  4. Peel the cooked plantains and cut them into chunks
  5. Chop the onion, shallots, bell pepper and parsley and combine them with the plantains
  6. Cut and slice the avocado
  7. Add them to the plantain mix

  8. Drizzle generously with the vinaigrette and mix. Be careful not to stir too much so as not to mash the avocados

  9. Season with salt and pepper, if necessary
  10. Let marinate for about an hour in the vinaigrette so as to allow the flavors to fully develop
  11. Serve as a cold side with your favorite meal

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