Cuban Via Miami Feast: Mashed Plantains with Oh, Baby! Garlic-Tomato Shrimp on Top, Grilled Flank Steak with Lime and Onions and Quick Rice with Black Beans
- 6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (EVOO), divided, plus a little for drizzling
- 2 medium yellow onions, 1 finely chopped, divided, 1 thinly sliced
- 1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons ground cumin, divided
- 3 tablespoons fresh thyme (5-6 sprigs), leaves stripped and chopped
- 3 cups chicken stock, divided
- 1 1/2 cups white rice
- 1 can black beans (14 ounces)
- 2 pounds flank steak
- 2 tablespoons grill seasoning blend, such as McCormick brand Montreal Steak Seasoning
- 1 lime
- 3 green plantains (these are similar to green bananas and are available in the produce department)
- Waxed paper
- 1 small green bell pepper, seeded and finely chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, cracked away from skin and finely chopped
- 1 pound small shrimp, peeled, deveined and coarsely chopped
- Salt and pepper
- Zest and juice of 1 lemon
- 1 can tomato sauce (8 ounces)
- 3 tablespoons parsley leaves, finely chopped
- Hot sauce, such as Tabasco brand
Heat a medium size pot over medium heat. Add 1 tablespoon EVOO, one turn of the pan, and half of the finely chopped onion. Sauté for 3 minutes, then season with 2 teaspoons cumin (eyeball the measurement in the palm of your hand) and the thyme leaves.
Pour in 2 1/2 cups chicken stock and raise the heat to bring to a boil. Add the rice and lower the heat to simmer when boiling resumes. Cover the pot tightly. After 12 minutes, stir in the black beans and replace the cover. Cook for another 6-7 minutes. Turn off the rice and beans, season with salt and stir to combine. Let stand until ready to serve.
While the rice cooks, make the plantains with shrimp and the meat.
Pre-heat a grill pan over high heat. The meat can also be prepared in a hot, large cast iron or nonstick skillet if you do not have a grill pan.
Place the flank steak in a shallow dish and drizzle with EVOO to coat – about 2 tablespoons. Mix the grill seasoning with 1 tablespoon cumin (eyeball the measurement in your palm). Add the zest of 1 lime to the grill seasoning and cumin. Rub the mixture evenly over the steak. Wash up and cut the lime into wedges and reserve. Place the steak on the hot grill or in the hot pan and cook for 4-5 minutes, turn and cook for 3 minutes longer. Remove the steak from the heat and let the juices redistribute, 5 minutes.
Slit the skins of the plantains from end to end to vent them for microwave cooking. Wrap them each in waxed paper, twisting up the paper at the ends. Microwave the plantains on high for 4-5 minutes together or 90 seconds each individually.
While the plantains and steak cook, place a medium nonstick skillet on the heat over a high flame. Add 2 tablespoons EVOO and the sliced onions. Sear the onions up and heat through, but leave a bite to them. Place the onions on a platter and cover with foil to reserve heat.
Return the pan to the stove and reduce the heat to between medium-high and medium. Add 2 tablespoons EVOO, two turns of the pan, and the remaining finely chopped onion, bell pepper, garlic and shrimp. Season with salt and pepper and add the lemon zest. Cook until the shrimp are firm and the peppers begin to soften, 4 minutes or so. Add the juice of 1/2 lemon, tomato sauce and parsley. Turn off the heat.
Peel and mash the steaming hot plantains with the remaining 1/2 cup chicken stock and a drizzle of EVOO. Season the plantains with salt and pile on a platter or dinner plates, then top with the garlicky shrimp and tomatoes. Very thinly slice the cooked steak on an angle, working against the grain. Squeeze the lime juice over the meat and arrange over the cooked sliced onions on serving platter. Fluff up the rice and black beans a bit, transfer them to a bowl and pass at the table.