Submitted by Maria Luisa “Malu” González Brunet
Mofongo is Malu’s favorite food. Because: plantains.
Maria Luisa “Malu” González Brunet and I have been friends since we met in kindergarten in San Juan, Puerto Rico. When we get together or call to catch up, our chisme and memories zigzag through the decades: from what we did last year, to what’s new with our kids, to childhood weekends at her grandparents’ house in the small town in the center of the island, Barranquitas, where we slip-slided down grass hills on yaguas, soaped-up palm tree stalks we rode like sleds.
Malu and I know a lot about each other. But until I called to wrestle this mofongo recipe out of her, I didn’t know about her Proustian thing with plantains. “Me encanta el plátano,” Malu declares. “In my family, growing up, we cooked them so many ways, and I love every single one. I love tostones and I love piñon. I love mofongo and I love plátanos maduros. I love plantains.”
I should have known. It suddenly comes back to me that Malu served creamy platano soup at her wedding 30 years ago in Puerto Rico. Today, she lives in Boston and ”eating plantains reminds me of my roots, of my island.”
When she’s hungry for home, one of Malu’s favorite dishes is mofongo: The taste and the texture of savory plantain patties packed with crunchy pork rind, sautéd garlic and a pinch of salt. “My favorite way to eat mofongo is relleno, when you stuff it with meat or shrimp,” she says.
So, here it is: Malu’s go-to recipe for mofongo. It’s delicious plain and relleno. You can’t go wrong, she says: Every bite is crunchy-savory delicioso.