From time to time, I will feature a food item and detail its nutritional value and perhaps teach you something that you might not know about it. I might also throw in a simple little recipe for you to try out. Today I talk about the banana.
The banana is said to have originated in S.E. Asia in the areas of Indochina, the Malaysian peninsula, and as far south as Australia. It was first introduced to Europe in the 10th century, and later in the New World during the 16th century. It is the 4th largest fruit crop in the world with Latin America accounting for more than 65% of the production. They are usually picked green and ripened in storage rooms that have nearly 100% humidity. Compared to the natural ripening process, storage ripened bananas, the type we receive in the U.S., lack the full flavor that their cousins on the tree have. What modern techniques have been used to preserve the fruit has further diluted that "banana" flavor... and progress moves on.
Bananas, it has been said, may just be the perfect food. There are many nutrients including protein, carbohydrates, fiber, calcium, iron, riboflavin, niacin, B-carotene, and the list goes on. It is said to be very good for your heart. Even the peel has medicinal value. Did you know that banana peel can be used to heal a wound faster and can help get rid of warts? There are actual antibiotic and anti fungal properties in the peeling. In fact, the entire banana and its parts has medicinal values from the treatment of dysentery, bronchitis, diabetes, to epilepsy, leprosy, hysteria, hemorrhoids, and malignant ulcers. There are many more medicinal uses not mentioned here. Hindus consider the banana a symbol of fertility and I'll leave that one alone.
Here's a very simple dessert that is very tasty and will wow your dinner guests. Take 2 large firm bananas, cut them in half and then slice each half lengthwise. Crack two eggs and use the yolks and put the whites in the fridge for another day. Add a couple of tablespoons of cream to the yolks and beat until well mixed. Then add a tablespoon of brandy and mix well. Pour some Japanese bread crumbs in a shallow bowl. Japanese bread crumbs are lighter than regular bread crumbs and can now be found in most major supermarkets. In a third bowl, pour some flour.
Get a 10 inch frying or saute pan and spray the bottom with Pam and melt 2 or 3 tablespoons of butter over medium high heat. While butter is melting, coat each of the banana slices with the flour, then in the egg , and finally roll it into the bread crumbs so that the bread crumbs completely cover the bananas. When the butter is well melted and beginning to foam, carefully place each of the banana slices in and saute about 2 minutes per side or until bread crumbs have a nice golden color. Remove and set aside in a serving platter. Reduce heat to medium and add a quarter cup of brandy and a tablespoon of brown sugar. Be careful not to stand over the pan while doing this just in case the brandy flames. The brandy does not need to be flambeed, it will evaporate its alcohol naturally. Stir until brown sugar is nicely dissolved and add 1 small scoop of ice cream and stir until ice cream is melted but not boiling. Pour mixture over bananas and serve . I know, the butter is fattening. Well, this one time, get over it and just enjoy! If you want, you can serve with a scoop of ice cream over the bananas. (banana provided by www.freedigitalphotos.net)