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  • Writer's pictureTommy Centola

Bananas can elevate dishes

Bananas are America’s favorite fruit. Scientist say it’s a berry, but that’s one argument I’m not getting into. What I care about is how bananas can be used to elevate every day dishes. I have a few to talk about today.

Bananas are usually found as breakfast or dessert. The three dishes I have today focus on the first meal of the day. The first one is Banana Pancakes. The second one is from the fryer, Banana Fritters. The last one is a grand presentation, Bananas Foster French Toast. Go grab a bunch of bananas, and Let’s head to the kitchen!

Banana Pancakes

Pancakes are a favorite in the Centola household. There was never any doubt as to what was being served on a Saturday. Breakfast would be pancakes and dinner would be hamburgers. Here’s a twist on a family classic.

2 cups all-purpose flour

3 tablespoons firmly packed brown sugar

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

3/4 teaspoon salt

2 cups buttermilk

1 large egg, lightly beaten

1/2 stick (1/4 cup) butter, melted

3 bananas, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch sliced

Preheat oven to 200℉.

In a bowl, sift together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. Add buttermilk and egg to the dry ingredients and beat well. Add melted butter and bananas and stir until combined. Spray a skillet with nonstick butter flavored cooking spray and place over moderate heat. Spoon batter into skillet with a large serving spoon making 3 to 4 pancakes. When bubbles appear on the surface of the pancake, flip pancake one and cook until browned, 3 to 4 minutes. Remove pancakes from skillet, spread each with butter, and stack them on an ovenproof plate. Keep pancakes warm in the oven until ready to serve. Repeat steps with remaining batter.

Banana Fritters

This could also be called a Banana Beignet. Everyone loves to eat fried dough. This is a great way to add more flavor to your morning meals.

2 medium ripe bananas, ripe but firm, peeled and coarsely chopped

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 large egg, lightly beaten

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons baking powder

About 1/2 cup milk

3 cups canola oil

Confectioner’s sugar for sprinkling

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Combine the bananas, flour, salt, and baking powder in a medium mixing bowl. Add enough milk to achieve the consistency of a thick pancake batter.

Heat the oil in a large deep pot or deep fryer to 360 degrees. Drop the batter by spoonfuls into the hot oil, a few at a time, and fry until the fritters rise to the surface of the oil and are golden brown, turning 2 or 3 times.

Drain on paper towels and sprinkle with confectioner’s sugar and cinnamon. Serve immediately.

Bananas Foster French Toast

I wish I would eat French toast more often. It’s not more difficult to make than pancakes. Here’s a version using a traditional New Orleans flavor, Bananas Foster.

Bananas Foster Syrup

1 1/2 cups pure maple syrup

2 tablespoons butter

4 bananas, peeled, halved and sliced lengthwise

1 teaspoon rum flavoring

In a small saucepan, heat syrup over medium heat. Add butter and stir until melted and syrup is bubbling. Add bananas and heat thoroughly. Remove from heat and add rum flavoring. Return to slow heat and keep warm.

French Toast

6 large eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla

1/2 cup heavy cream

8 slices french bread (preferably a few days old)

To make batter, whisk eggs, then add vanilla. Pour in cream and whisk until well blended. Melt 1-2 tablespoons of butter in large sauté pan over medium high heat. Dip slices of bread into batter and soak thoroughly. Place 4 slices at a time in melted butter and cook each side until golden brown. Repeat with remaining bread. Serve with warm syrup and bananas.

What would a food article about bananas be without a mention of the King of Rock N Roll. Elvis loved his fried peanut butter, bananas and bacon sandwiches. Known as the Fools’ Gold Loaf and according to legend, Elvis friends took his private jet to Colorado for this sandwich. They consumed 30 of them with Perrier and champagne. A lifestyle befitting of the King.

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