It’s nice to be back in the kitchen! I’ve been super busy the last couple of weeks and am excited to work on a few new recipes. Before I became a vegan, one of my favorite things to eat was fish at the local VFW hall on Fridays during the Lenten season. Though I’m not a Catholic, there are a few of their traditions that I really enjoyed! I tried using hearts of palm and other substitutes for fish. However, using banana blossoms has proved to be hands-down the best option! I like adding some ground seaweed to the beer batter, which gives it a nice fishy flavor. I also love the minty mushy peas as a side! And last, we cannot forget the chips! Large russet potatoes cut into thick batons and lightly fried make this girl happy! 😋
The Banana blossom, also known as a “banana heart,” is a fleshy, purple-skinned flower shaped like a tear that grows at the end of a banana fruit cluster. They are very flakey, making them a perfect substitute for fish. The family to which the banana belongs is called Musaceae, as banana blossom represents a valuable source of potassium, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E, minerals, fatty acid content, flavonoids, saponin, essential and essential and non-essential amino acid, tannins, glycoside, and steroid. Banana flower is also a good antioxidant source.
A little bit of prep needs to be done ahead of time. So be sure to read through the whole recipe first. You can make the peas and tartar sauce as early as a day ahead. This is a perfect meat-free meal that even your fish-eating friends will love! Enjoy!
**UPDATE: For whatever reason, WordPress does not allow me to go back and edit recipes. The pea recipe was written for two cups of frozen peas.
There is some prep for this recipe. You will want to rinse the banana blossoms and get them in the freezer while you make the other ingredients. Make the peas and tartar sauce first. And then make potatoes and the fish last.
- 1 Tbsp unsalted butter
- Zest of 1 lemon
- 1/4 cup fresh mint leaves, minced
- Salt, to taste
- Black pepper, to taste
- 2 (18 oz) cans banana blossoms, drained and rinsed
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 cup rice flour (used as pre-coat; can use regular flour if needed)
- 1 teaspoon kelp powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 3/4 cup beer (I used an IPA)
- 3/4 cup seltzer or sparkling water
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
- Malt vinegar, for serving
- 4 russet potatoes, sliced each into 8 wedges
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 3 teaspoons garlic powder)
- 2 teaspoon onion powder
- 2 teaspoons salt, (adjust to your tastes)
- 1/2 teaspoon black cracked pepper
- 2 tablespoons fresh chopped parsley (garnish)
Vegan Tartar Sauce:
- ¼ cup (58 g) vegan mayo
- 1 tbsp (10 g) minced cornichons (small pickles)
- 2 tsp (20 g) caper, roughly chopped
- 1 tsp (5 ml) white vinegar
- ½ tsp dijon
- 1 tsp (2 g) fresh dill, chopped
- Pinch salt and pepper
Mix all ingredients in a small bowl and refrigerate immediately.
- Bring 6 cups of generously salted water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Add the frozen peas and mint and cook for 4 minutes—Reserve 3 tablespoons of the hot cooking water. Drain the peas and mint and return to the pan. Immediately add butter, lemon zest, and cooking water—season with salt and pepper. Roughly mash the peas with a potato masher or food processor. Cover and set aside. You can use the peas in rough purée form, but if you want a very fine, smooth purée, push the mixture through a fine sieve. (I like to save about 1/4 cup of whole peas to add to puree).
- Preheat oven to 400°. Wash the potatoes (I did not peel mine) with cold water to remove some of the surface dirt and dry well. Slice potatoes in half lengthwise, slice each half in half again and then slice each half in half again. You should have a total of 8 slices per potato. Blanch the potatoes in hot (not boiling) water for 10-12 minutes to release their starches. You can skip this step, but your potatoes will not be as crisp.
- Drain potatoes, shaking well to remove excess water. Lightly pat them dry and add potatoes to a medium-size bowl. Add olive oil and toss well. Combine spices in a small bowl and sprinkle over potatoes. Toss well to coat. Place potatoes cut side down on a parchment-lined baking sheet or in an *air fryer. (Depending on the size of your pan, you may have to use two baking sheets. If so, rotate pans when you pull them to flip the potatoes at the halfway baking point, about 30 minutes)
- Bake for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and, using a spatula, carefully flip the potatoes. Rotate pans if you used more than one.
- Return to oven and bake for an additional 25-30 minutes. (You can reduce the oven to 200° and keep potatoes warm while fillets cook).
- Sprinkle with parsley and serve hot.
- Heat oil in a dutch oven or wok to 345° F. Turn oven down to 200° F. Whisk together flour, baking soda, kelp powder, and 1 teaspoon salt. Pour in the beer, sparkling water, and lemon juice and mix just until combined (do not over-mix). Keep the batter refrigerated until ready to use.
- Drain the banana blossoms, then shape them into filets. Wrap the blossoms in clean kitchen towels and squeeze out all of the brine.
- Cover and place in the freezer for 1 hour.
- Remove from the freezer and sprinkle the blossoms with salt and pepper. Coat the blossoms in rice flour and then dip into the batter to completely coat. Carefully swish the blossoms partway into the oil for a few seconds before completely releasing. Once the coating starts to set on the first fillet, you can add another battered fillet into the oil. Fry until the blossom is puffed, golden brown, and cooked through, 5 minutes for thin fillets or 7 minutes for thick fillets, and then transfer to a paper towel-lined plate. Cook the remaining fillets and sprinkle with salt.
- To serve, reheat the mushy peas if necessary. Serve the fish with chips, mushy peas, and malt vinegar on the side.
*If using air fryer bake at 390°F for 12-15 minutes. You will have to do this in batches so whey they’ve cooked you will need to place them in a low (200°F oven) to keep warm.