Saturday, 11 June 2011


Biscotti di Banana, Noce & Rosmarino in Padella
Pan Roasted Banana, Nut & Rosemary Cookies

If there is one thing I hate to do, it is to waste good food. I usually find a way to recycle whatever I have in my fridge before the compost has a chance. So this morning, I stood in my kitchen, looking at two very ripe and sad-looking bananas. They were brown and beginning to soften... so they would be no fun to peel and eat fresh, but perfect I thought, to turn into a dessert. Or a breakfast. Or a snack. Or a combination of the 3!

I decided to try an experiment... you know me by now! So I chopped up the bananas, a handful of assorted nuts and raisins... and a couple of sprigs of rosemary. You also know by now that I love the combination of banana and rosemary, which I find simply delicious. So now I had this gloppy mess in a bowl and had no further idea what I was going to do with it! I added a pinch of salt. No sugar. I knew the bananas would be very sweet at this level of ripeness and the hint of salt would just bring out the sweetness more. I added a cupful of coconut flakes, a tiny bit of nutmeg and a good shake of ground cinnamon. And then I stirred in some oatmeal and kept adding it until I had a soft compact mass. This took around 2 cups. My thought was to form healthy little cookies and bake them in the oven. The oatmeal binds the sticky banana mass wonderfully- there is no need for any egg, flour or butter here.

But the bottom line was- it was 8 am in the morning! I just wanted to grab a coffee and check my emails and I was not feeling inclined to empty out and to turn on my oven. Also, I had the feeling that if I waited for the oven to warm up, the oatmeal would soak up the banana too much and become too soft and sticky. As usual, my trusty Teflon pan was beckoning me and I was not going to resist temptation. I wanted and toasted flavor, for the oatmeal to brown and for the natural sugars in the banana to caramelize. I took a teaspoonful of the mix and dropped it into the palm of my hand, Using the spoon to help, I formed little patties which I placed on the very hot pan. And I waited. I knew that, given time, the oatmeal would dry-out and become firm and loosen itself from the pan. Be patient. Give them a gentle nudge after 2 minutes or so and see if they will move. As soon as they do, flip them over. From now on it is easy. You may have to flip them a couple of times till they get to be the color you want, but once the dough has become firm and toasted it is really a no-brainer. Even I managed to do it!

 And basically, that is all there is to it! I am sure they will work just as fine in the oven and I am sure that they will be good with some added butter or sugar. But I just didn't see the need and found them to be spicy, nutty, juicy and delicious the way I made them. The hint of rosemary gives them a distinctive "edge" that is very cool. Life's too short to just stick to chocolate chip- delicious as that is!

So next time you are wondering what to do with them old bananas- don't be wasteful- do something tasteful!

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