Pick of the Moment: Brown Bananas for Breakfast in “Brown Butter-Banana Barley Porridge”
Brown bananas are one of life’s inevitabilities. We buy too many bananas and watch them slowly wither on the kitchen counter, or whatever the reason, but how many of us end up simply throwing them away when they become overripe? Well, not only are there tons of uses for ripe bananas (and I’m not just talking about banana bread!) but when incorporated into a dish, they add a rich, ripe sweetness and a creamy consistency. If you can’t use them right away, just peel the banana, throw it in a plastic bag, and freeze it (they’ll last at least a month or two in the freezer before they start to brown even further). Here at Marczyk’s, we don’t like to see anything go to waste, so we offer up the overripe fruit at a really great discount. What’s not to love?
My tribute to the brown banana is this simple, wholesome and delicious breakfast recipe. This whole-grain porridge is a great thing to make in large quantities on a leisurely Sunday morning, since it takes more time to cook. You can easily double the recipe and have leftovers that make for a lightning-quick, filling and nutritious breakfast throughout the week. The bananas also act as a natural sweetener for the dish and give the barley a creamy, almost risotto-like texture. That’s what I call a great way to start the day!
Brown Butter Banana-Barley Porridge
1 T vegetable oil
1 T butter
1 1/2 cups banana puree, lightly mashed
1 cup water
2 cups lowfat milk (or milk substitute)
1 cup pearled barley
sea salt, to taste
1/2 cup walnuts halves
maple syrup (optional)
In a large pot over medium heat, add oil and butter. Cook until the oils sizzle and butter begins to brown (you may need to increase the heat level, slightly) and become toasty and fragrant, about 10 minutes. Lower heat to medium and add banana puree. Allow bananas to saute in oil until lightly caramelized, about 5 minutes.
Add water, milk and barley and bring mixture to a boil, mixing often. Reduce to a simmer and cook, occasionally stirring, until barley is cooked and much of the liquid is absorbed, about 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, preheat oven to 400 degrees. Arrange walnut pieces on a baking sheet in a single layer and toast until fragrant, about 5-7 minutes.
Serve the porridge hot, with the walnuts sprinkled on top and a light drizzle of maple syrup, if desired.