there is a fabulous authentic puerto rican restaurant in ballard - la isla - that serves up a satisfying appetizer of fried green plantains to scoop up their "gandules dip" - a spicy and tangy pigeon pea salad mixed with onions and roasted peppers that leaves your mouth tasting like raw garlic for hours. the pigeon peas are about the size and color of green lentil, only a bit more plump and firm like a fresh pea. in an attempt to recreate this appetizer today, i couldn't find any green plantains within biking distance of my home, but i did find a can of goya-brand pigeon peas! la isla also serves amazing sauteed garlic prawns. i get the sense that garlic is a serious flavor in puerto rican food... which is all dandy and swell as long as your date consumes equal quantities of garlic. just sayin'...
pigeon pea, corn salad with garlic shrimp:
at least a 1/2 pound of shrimp or prawns, devained and tails removed
4 cloves garlic, minced
3 tablespoons olive oil
4 ears of corn, raw, cut from cob (i like my corn salads raw - if you prefer, you could first boil the ears for a few minutes and let cool completely)
2-3 roasted peppers (i used spicy peppers freshly roasted, seeded and peeled)
1 can pigeon peas, drained and rinsed
1 pint fresh cherry or pear tomatoes, cut in half
1/2 red onion, finely chopped
large bunch of cilantro, trimmed and washed
juice of 1 lime
salt & pepper
in a skilled, heat olive oil and add shrimp/prawns. after about one minute add the minced garlic. sautee for a few minutes on a medium heat until pink. remove from heat and let cool completely.
in a large bowl combine all the salad ingredients and seasoning to taste. once the seafood has cooled, combine with the corn salad. be sure to scoop up all the fried garlic from the pan and toss into the salad! you might also like to add a bit extra olive oil to dress the salad. serve chilled and idealy with fried plantains (warm flour tortillas is a great substitute though!)