Fig or green cooking bananas is one of those go-to ingredients we love to incorporate in soups, stews and many times, simply boiled on it own (treated like most cultures would potatoes). Growing up on the islands, most homes had a banana tree in their backyard, so both ripe and green bananas were always plentiful. Today I’ll show you how you can take the same green cooking bananas and make a pie (casserole) as we did with Macaroni and Breadfruit a while back.
11-12 green cooking bananas
3 tablespoon olive oil
2 medium tomato (diced)
1 1/2 cup prepared salted cod (salt fish)
1 teaspoon black pepper (divided)
6 cloves garlic (crushed or diced fine)
5 scallions (divided)
3-4 tablespoon chopped parsley (divided)
6-8 sprigs thyme
1 scotch bonnet pepper (no seeds | diced fine)
1 bell pepper (sweet pepper – diced)
3/4 cup Jarlsberg Cheese (grated)
1 1/2 cup aged cheddar (grated)
2 tablespoon butter
1/4 teaspoon salt
cooking spray to grease the baking dish
Note: If doing this recipe gluten free, please go through the entire list of ingredients to make sure they meet with your specific gluten free dietary needs.
Trim the stems off the green bananas, then cut a shallow line (the thickness of the skin) along the lenght of each banana. Rinse with cool water, place in a deep pot with water and bring to a boil. reduce to a rolling boil and cook for 15-18 minutes or until they float or you see the cuts we made open up wide. Don’t salt the water – as the remaining salt from the salted cod (later) should be enough to season the dish.
Heat a saucepan on a med flame, add the olive oil followed by the prepared salted cod. (basically you soak the salted cod in water over night, then drain, rinse and shred or in my case, I poured boiling water over it in a bowl, when it cooled, I rinsed it in cool water, drain and shredded)
As soon as it starts frying, turn the heat to low, add 1/2 the black pepper and stir. Then add garlic, scotch bonnet pepper and turn the heat to med/low and add the 2/3 of the scallions, 1/2 of the parsley, thyme, bell pepper and tomato Stir well and cook for 3-5 minutes then turn off the heat.
The green bananas should be cooked now, drain and allow to cool before removing the skin (discard), then slice into 1/4 inch pieces.
As the banana cools, grate your cheese. TIP! Place the cheese in the freezer for 5-8 minutes and it will firm up nicely to grate easier. To this cheese add the remaining black pepper, scallions, parsley and thyme. Mix to combine.
Pre-heat your oven to 375 F. Add the melted butter and 2/3 the cheese mixture to the sliced cooked banana and mix well to combine.
Spray or grease your oven proof dish, then add a layer (1/2) of the banana/cheese, followed by the tomato/saltfish (place down the center, then spread evenly across), the final layer of green fig (banana) and top with the cheese we reserved.
Into the oven on the middle shelf (uncovered) for 40 minutes. Then hit the broil setting (about 550 F) for 2-3 minutes for a bit more color on the top.
I’m sure you can recognize that Uncle Chris brought his A Game with this recipe, as most Fig Pie don’t include the stewed Salted Cod (saltfish). I also opted for slicing the cooked green bananas and not smashing or mash them as others do. Sadly I’m no longer in the Caribbean where I can get ‘choice’ green fig (banana), but so it goes I guess. Remember to look for Green COOKING Bananas if you’re outside the Caribbean. Asian, Latin and Caribbean markets will usually stock it.