The grated plantain in this coastal Ecuadoran soup gives the dish a wonderfully light and creamy body.
In 2018, Food & Wine named this recipe one of our 40 best: We took a deep editorial dive into the islands, rain forests, and mountains of Ecuador in a 2001 article, and we asked chef and author Maricel Presilla of Zafra in New Jersey to give our readers the best examples of classic Ecuadoran food. Presilla shared her fantastic recipe for a coastal Ecuadoran shrimp soup made with grated plantain, which gives the soup a wonderfully light and creamy body.
In a large, shallow glass or stainless-steel bowl, toss the shrimp with two-thirds of the minced garlic, the scallions, lime juice and 1 teaspoon of salt. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or for up to 3 hours.
In a food processor, puree the corn with the milk. Pour the puree through a coarse strainer, pressing on the solids to extract as much liquid as possible.
Heat the Annatto Oil in a large sauce-pan or enameled cast-iron casserole. Add the remaining garlic, onion, bell pepper and cumin and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until the vegetables are slightly softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes and cook for 2 minutes longer. Add the corn milk, stock, plantain, cilantro and cayenne and bring to a boil. Simmer over moderately low heat until very flavorful, about 20 minutes.
Pour the soup through a coarse strainer. Working in batches, puree the vegetables in a blender. Return the puree and the strained broth to the saucepan and bring to a simmer. Add the shrimp and its marinade and cook over moderate heat until the shrimp are just opaque throughout, about 2 minutes. Season with salt and serve in warmed soup plates or bowls with the Tangy Corn Salsa.
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