This is my take on a recipe which screams St Lucia. After a full day of beautiful Caribbean sunshine and wicked heat, we ended up in a small family run restaurant in Castries St Lucia where it was recommended I try the “Green Fig Salad” (like a potato salad made green cooking bananas). What a delightful dish, one bite and I could see why St Lucians are so proud of this dish. The creamy texture, mixed in with the body of the cooked banana and the slight herbal elements combined with the bits of salted cod was just perfect. So here’s my version of Green Fig Salad!
5 green cooking Bananas (green fig)
1 cup diced red bell pepper
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon olive oil
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 clove garlic
1 cup shredded saltfish (salted cod – prepared)
1 tablespoon parsley
1 sprig thyme
Additionally you can add 1 small can of peas and carrot (rinsed and drained), 1 seasoning pepper (pimento) and a bit more mayo if you like it more creamy.
The first step is to trim and boil the cooking bananas. If you’re using freshly harvested bananas you will encounter a sort of sap, so I’d recommend wearing gloves or coating your hands with a bit of vegetable oil to form a protective barrier. That sap can also leave a stain on your clothing, so don’t allow it to make contact. Trim off the stems on both sides, then run a cut down the body of each banana (the depth of the thickness of the skin), cover with water in a deep pan and bring to a boil. Cook on a rolling boil for about 15 minutes in salted water. It will go discolored – totally natural. The cut we made will open up and allow for easy removal of the skin. Allow to cool to handle (drain).. then dice.
Watch this video (click) How To Shop For, Cook And Peel Green Bananas.
Prepare the salted cod by boiling in water to re-hydrate and remove most of the salt it was cured in. Flake and set aside. I like using boned cod as it means less work.. but still double-check to ensure there are no bones. Dice the garlic and bell pepper.. chop the scallions and parsley and remove the thyme off the stem.
Place a non stick pan on a medium flame and add the olive oil. Then add the scallion, garlic, thyme, black pepper, cod bits and bell pepper. Turn the heat down to low and let it gently cook for 3 minutes. I’m doing this to really bring out the flavors in these ingredients. Turn off the heat, add the parsley and let it cool.
In a large bowl place the diced (cooked) green banana, then top with the flavor ingredients (which should be cool now) and go in with the mayonnaise. Give it a good mix to make sure everything gets coated and combined. NOTE: if you have access to seasoning peppers (pimento peppers) add a couple… that’s what we do in the Southern Caribbean for additional flavor.
Chill in the fridge for a bit as I find it helps to bring everything together. You will notice that I did not add any salt. The remaining salt in the salted cod was enough to season this dish to my liking, However you can taste and adjust accordingly. IMPORTANT: If you’re serving this during the summer months (outdoors) do remember there’s mayo in it, so it needs to be on ice or the heat will make it go sour fast.