Courtesy Hugo Ortega, executive chef, Xochi, Houston
Ripe plantains should be yellow and speckled with brown, but still firm to the touch. If the mashed plantain is too wet to work with, add a little flour. Chapulines are available online and add a nice crunch, but are completely optional.
- 5 large ripe plantains, unpeeled
- ¾ cup refried beans
- 1 cup queso fresco, crumbled, plus more
- for garnish
- ½ cup corn oil, plus more for hands
- ½ cup Mexican crema or crème fraîche
- ½ cup chapulines (fried grasshoppers), optional
Heat oven to 375˚F. Place plantains on nonstick sheet pan and bake for 25 minutes, or until peels start to burst and fruit looks soft. Let cool.
Peel plantains into large bowl. Mash with a potato masher or fork.
Line sheet pan with parchment. Coat hands with oil. Working 2 tablespoons at a time, use hands to pat plantain mash into ¼-inch thick tortilla, then place on lined sheet pan. Dollop 1 teaspoon beans and 1 teaspoon queso fresco in middle of each plantain tortilla. Fold to seal, as if making an empanada.
Gently roll each between hands to form an elongated football shape. Refrigerate 30 minutes, or until firm.
Heat oil in pan over medium-high heat. Carefully add molotes to oil and cook until golden brown, about 2 minutes per side. Drain on paper towels. Garnish with crema, remaining queso fresco and chapulines, if using. Serves 4.
Casa Magoni 2015 Manaz Blanco (Valle de Guadalupe). “This blend of Viognier and Fiano grapes has a juicy, racy base of fruit and spice with a bright and aromatic nose,” says Sean Beck, beverage director at Xochi. “The round, lush texture softens up the spice and salty notes of the molote and chapulín. It also makes me think of the coast, both Italy—where Fiano is—and the coast of Oaxaca, where this dish has its roots.”