2 large very green plaintains
Peel the plaintains by cutting off each end, then slice through the peel all the way down the side. Pull off the peels - they are really stiff and a little challenging to remove. Cut slices crosswise about 1/2 inch thick. Heat enough oil to cover bottom of large nonstick frypan. Oil should make small bubbles when you add the slices. Don't overcrowd the pan. Fry until golden, turn and brown other side. Remove to paper towels to blot oil, then mash down to make them fairly flat, about 1/8 inch or so thick. Add more oil as needed; fry the batch a second time, sprinkle with a little salt. Repeat with remaining slices. You can safely keep them warm in a 200° oven until serving time for half an hour or so.
Cut all fruits into 1/4 inch chunks. Mix fruit together, then add in onion and jalapeño a little at a time, so as not to overpower the salsa. Do the same with the cilantro. Stir in lime juice. Taste. One or two pinches of salt will bring out the natural flavors of the salsa. You don't want to taste the salt. Yields about 2 cups. Serve in a bowl garnished with starfruit slices if desired, and fried plaintains on the side.
Note: this appetizer was a huge hit; not a bit was left over. Try it with my blessing!
In my humble opinion, no tropical meal is complete without key lime pie. About 20 years ago Paul and I went to Florida, namely Orlando, so I could feed my inner kid and play in Disney World, and then down to Key West. I got hooked on two things - melon coladas and key lime pie. Charlie's Steakhouse and Seafood in Kissimmee had great food, but what thrilled me was the soft serve melon coladas! Oooh baby I mean a real soft serve machine! Innocent that I was, I'd never experienced that before. And they were delicious! Sadly, even though I tried them in other places, they just didn't thrill me. After coming back home I bought a bottle of Midori melon liqueur in a pitiful effort to feed my addiction but I couldn't replicate the coveted flavor and had to give it up. Forever. At least until I return to my soft serve lover in Kissimmee.
The key lime pie story has a happily ever after ending. We ate that pie every single day on our trip. Sometimes twice. The most memorable incident was in the Florida Keys, Islamorada, I think. We had a wonderful Cuban lunch at Manny & Isa's, and of course, Isa's key lime pie. She was nice enough to give me her recipe. The common denominator of every single k-l pie we had was raw eggs, which I resisted using. I absolutely don't remember where I got it, but I snagged an eggless recipe and wrote it on the same postcard on which I recorded Isa's instructions. My commitment was sealed by buying a bottle of key lime juice at the Piggly Wiggly Market in Key West.
I asked Kendra to make the pie for our dinner. She balked when after searching for recipes and continually coming up with raw eggs and EGAD sweetened condensed milk, which she somehow equates with Velveeta. (I'm going to make a confession - I like Velveeta Shells & Cheese. Shhhhhh) When I gave her my recipe her feathers were smoothed out and she was happy. And it was delish.
Eggless Key Lime Pie
Mix first 3 ingredients well; a mixer is helpful. Pour into prepared crust. Refrigerate for several hours. Top with whipped cream. Garnish with a mint sprig or lemon verbena, if you have it.