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Going Bananas

Bananas are versatile and add a layer of taste to all types of dishes, such as the Orange Roughy recipe. And did you know that in many Latin American and Asian countries, banana leaves are used in place of plates? Whatever you do, use your bananas for more than just a delicious snack or topping for your cereal.

4 bananas, not quite ripe and very firm
4 Tablespoons butter
2 Tablespoons olive oil
4 (6 oz.) orange roughy fillets
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 egg, beaten
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1-1/2 cups finely chopped pecans
2 Tablespoons fresh lime juice

Peel bananas and cut lengthwise into 1/4-inch slices. In large, ovenproof skillet, heat oil and half the butter over moderately high heat until foam stops. Sauté banana slices one minute on each side or until golden. Move them to a plate and drain on a paper towel. Pat fish dry and sprinkle with cumin, salt, and pepper. Combine beaten egg with salt mixture in a shallow dish. Dip each fish fillet in egg mixture and dredge in chopped nuts. Add remaining butter to the skillet and heat until foam stops. Sauté fillets 2 to 3 minutes. Turn them over and top with banana slices. Sauté 2 minutes more. Drizzle with lime juice and transfer skillet to a preheated 450° oven. Bake 6 minutes longer. Serve immediately. Serves 4.

6 egg yolks
2 cups milk
2 cups heavy cream
1/2 cup plus 2 Tablespoons sugar
2 large, ripe, mashed bananas
1/2 teaspoon grated nutmeg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon salt

Beat egg yolks with a whisk until well-blended. In a saucepan over medium heat, combine milk, cream, sugar, and nutmeg. Stir constantly until sugar is dissolved and small bubbles form along sides of pan. Stir in bananas. Temper the eggs by adding a little of the hot milk mixture, whisking constantly to bring the temperature of the eggs up gradually. This will prevent curdling. Whisk in a little more of the milk mixture and finish by adding the yolk mixture to the remaining milk mixture, whisking constantly.

Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the custard coats the back of the spoon. This will take 3 to 5 minutes. Remove pan and set in an ice bath. Add vanilla and salt. Remove from the ice bath when cool and place in refrigerator several hours to allow flavors to blend. You may do this the night before serving. Pour into an ice cream maker and follow manufacturer’s instructions. Serves 6.

4 ripe bananas, peeled
4 Tablespoons light brown sugar
5 teaspoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1-1/4 cups orange juice
2 to 3 teaspoons rum flavoring
Vanilla ice cream
Maraschino cherries

Preheat oven to 350°. Place bananas in a greased baking dish. Sprinkle with sugar and dots of butter. Pour orange juice mixed with rum flavoring around bananas and bake for 20 minutes. Serve with ice cream topped with cherries. Serves 4.

8 bananas, peeled
32 oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips
4 Tablespoons unsalted butter
8 Popsicle sticks
Crushed peanuts, cashews, or sprinkles

Line a cookie sheet with waxed paper. Cut off the end of each banana and insert a Popsicle stick into the end. Push stick halfway into banana. Place bananas on cookie sheet and freeze for an hour. Melt chocolate and butter in the top of a double boiler over simmering water until melted. Dip bananas one at a time in chocolate and turn to coat completely. Roll each banana in crushed nuts or sprinkles. Place bananas on cookie sheet and return to freezer until chocolate hardens. Put in freezer bags to store in freezer. Serves 8.

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