Fried banana & peanut-butter sandwich
An indulgent, satisfying and quickly-prepared escape from your studies
by Maurice Alexander
Image courtesy of Pixabay user Glady
Now that we’re past the halfway point of this semester, I’m in no doubt that everyone is in the midst of dealing with a whole host of various deadlines, assessments, and assignments consuming all their time. I’ve decided to share a recipe that I rely on for a quick, satisfying lunch when I’m pressed for time or an indulging breakfast when I’ve slept in past noon.
Ingredients - Serves 1 generously, Serves 2 sufficiently
1 ripe banana
Smooth peanut butter
Two thick slices of quality white bread
Unsalted butter at room temperature
A grated square of white chocolate (optional)
You might be tempted to go all artisanal with this recipe and get a mineral-enriched brown bread studded with seeds and nuts from around the world. Don’t be. This recipe is simply dessert lunch or a sweet breakfast, and the cake-quality of white bread wins here. However, you should get a whole, unsliced loaf of a white farmhouse bread, the one that looks puffed up and dusted with flour. You need it slice to be quite thick, about an inch wide each, which can only be achievable if you cut the slices yourself at home. The butter must be unsalted, because salted butter is for seasoning sandwiches and is much too salty to ever be used in a recipe, especially a dessert recipe like this. To cut bread without crushing it under the pressure of a knife, you need a bread knife; a serrated knife with prominent bladed teeth. With this instrument, lay the teeth onto the top crust of the bread and move back and forth with little to no pressure. You can’t rush this, but you will have a perfectly light and buoyant slice of white bread.
Mash the banana in a small bowl, pressing the pale, honey-coloured flesh against the sides with the back of a fork until it decomposes into a sweetly scented goop. The banana you need must be ripe. I understand that there are people who enjoy a borderline-crunchy, verdant banana, but what’s important here is the consistency of the fruit after you’ve rendered it down into a smooth paste. It should be exactly that, a smooth paste, which can be difficult to achieve when the banana is a luminous acid green with the accompanying solid quality.
Set to one side and slather a generous amount of smooth peanut-butter onto a side of one of the bread slices. the peanut butter you can use can be either smooth or crunchy peanut butter, it’s just that Nigella’s recipe specifies smooth. Crunchy peanut butter wouldn’t have any effect on the final flavour, however the morsels of unpulverized peanuts might upset the pleasure of eating. Position the other slice of bread onto a plate and tip the mashed banana onto it, spreading it with a knife for even coverage before laying the other slice of bread onto it, with the banana paste touching the peanut-butter side. You can grate a square of white chocolate onto the peanut butter side to augment the dish with another note of sweet richness.
This dessert sandwich is butter on the outside. To ensure that you don’t tear the bread encasing the delicious filling, the butter must be at room temperature. This is easily achieved if you leave the butter out in the kitchen during the Spring and Summer, however this doesn’t help during the Scottish Autumn and Winter. During these colder months, place two tablespoons of the solid butter onto a small plate and put it into the oven to zap on a low heat for 5-second intervals until easily malleable. If you leave it in for a minute straight it will simply melt which will just sink into the bread and make the sandwich greasy. Using pliable butter, spread a generous layer onto the outside sides of the sandwich.
Warm a thick-bottomed, stainless-steel pan on a medium heat on a large burner. Tap it after 5 minutes and if it burns the tip of your finger, the pan is hot enough to brown the butter of the sandwich. Lay the sandwich into the pan. It should gently bubble as it touches the hot, dry surface of the pan and leave it still for 2 to 3 minutes until it develops deep colours of gold and brown. Flip, and repeat on the same side for 1 to 2 minutes. Don't panic if you notice that there's some sediment forming in the pan; this is what gifts the white bread slices their gorgeous tan. As long as there isn't smoke rising from the frying pan, you're safe. Properly browned on either side, place onto a warmed plate and cut cleanly through the centre diagonally or horizontally, whichever you prefer.