Guineitos en Escabeche
Updated: Jul 16
Green bananas are eaten in Puerto Rico akin to a vegetable or root - boiled and with a bit of oil and salt. This traditional recipe of green bananas takes it up one level by adding a delicious pickled onion mix to the delicious green bananas! This is the perfect side to your rice and beans and favorite meat dish. You really want to give this one a try! It's so delicious and as usual super easy!
9 green bananas (cooking bananas)
1 cup olive oil
4 small onions
6 cloves garlic
1 cup vinegar
3 bay leaves
½ tsp salt
1 tsp peppercorns
1 cup of olives and pimentos with liquid
This recipe calls for green bananas. And when I say green bananas, I mean really green. These bananas should be a deep green color with a waxy look and should be hard when you squeeze them. If there is any squish to them, they won’t work with this recipe.
You may not be able to find sufficiently green bananas at regular grocery stores, but I’ve had pretty good luck finding them at hispanic grocery stores--most often they are not with the fruit, but rather next to the plantains and root vegetables.
Once you’ve got your green bananas, the first thing you want to do is boil them, with their skin on. Just cut off the stem and add the bananas to a large pot.
Next add enough water to your pot to cover the bananas and some salt.
The amount of salt depends on the size of your pot. Here I’m using 1 TBS of salt with an 8 quart pot. Bring it to a boil and then boil the bananas on medium-low for approximately 35 minutes. Check your pot from time to time and add water if the water level drops below the bananas. You will notice the bananas start to darken as you boil them--don’t worry, this is perfectly normal.
While your bananas are boiling, let’s go ahead and get your escabeche ready. Escabeche is a broad term in latin cooking that refers to dishes that are prepared with an acidic sauce. This is similar to the concept of “ceviche,” which is a preparation of raw fish that has been cured with acids, like lemon juice or vinegar.
Start by slicing your onions. You want to slice your onions into half-moons that are about ¼ to ⅛ of inch thick. Try to keep your slices about the same width, so that they cook evenly.
Once your onions are sliced lets get them cooking. Add your olive oil to a wide pan, set on medium-low heat. Then add your sliced onions and whole garlic.
You could slice your garlic if you want, but I like to leave them whole. This way, they will retain their shape in the dish and people who don’t like them can pick around them. It also results in a cleaner sauce because you don’t have little pieces of garlic mixed in, which I think looks better.
Cook your onions and garlic on medium-low heat until your onions are soft, but still hold their shape. After you’ve cooked them, you will let them rest in the fridge in a vinegar solution, so you don’t want them to be so cooked that they fall apart.
Once your onions are cooked, turn your heat off and add the rest of your ingredients. Your vinegar, your bay leaves, your salt, your whole peppercorns, and your olives. Give this a good mix and set it aside.
It’s traditional to add whole peppercorns, but I know some people don’t like the experience of biting into a whole peppercorn, so consider leaving them out, depending on your loved-ones’ preferences.
Now back to your bananas, which should be cooked by this time.
As I noted, they’ve likely darkened as they were cooking, but no worries. That just means things are going right.
Start peeling your bananas and cutting them into slices about ¼ - ½ an inch thick.
If you watched our tostones and mofongo video, you are already a pro at peeling plantains and this is basically the same thing.
I generally like to cut off both ends of the banana and then use a small knife to score the banana’s peel. Then, just use your hands to pull off the peel and discard.
Because it’s cooked, the banana peel may not come off as cleanly as with plantains so you might need to scrap off any parts of the banana peel that are still stuck to the banana after youve removed the peel. This is easy to do with your small knife. Just hold it perpendicular to the banana and scrape it back and forth. Make sure to remove all of the peel before cutting into slices.
As you are cutting your bananas into slices, just dump them right into your escabeche.
Keep going until all your bananas are sliced.
Once all your bananas are cut, mix everything together, making sure to fully integrate the escabeche and the green bananas. Then put the lid on your pot and put it into the fridge for at least 12 hours.
You’ll get the best results if you mix your guineitos a couple times during those 12 hours, to make sure the vinegary oil gets incorporated into all of the bananas evenly.
Once rested, your guineitos are ready to serve.
Check out our instructional video, showing how to make this recipe step-by-step HERE.