Cheap Eats

Peanuts Give Many Ecuadorian Dishes Extra Oomph

A lush banana leaf arrives wrapped up like a Christmas present. A small dish of vinegar and oil topped with parsley shreds is tinted rose thanks to red onion slivers. As you peel open the package, a puff of steam flutters out. It's followed by the deep, earthy scent of peanuts and plantains. Behold, the bollo de pescado ($9.50).

It's found inside Doral's Mi Lindo Ecuador. Peanuts are an Ecuadorian staple, and they're an easy find across the South American nation. They grow in the foothills of the Andes and alongside the Pacific and Amazon borders. The country is home to a half-dozen species of them, and over the centuries they have found their way into countless dishes.

Bollo de pescado is one of several oversize tamale-like dishes that Ecuadorians cook in banana or plantain leaves. Mi Lindo's kitchen packs fillets of firm-fleshed whitefish into a mixture of crushed peanuts and green plantains. Red onions, garlic, and crimson annatto help slash corners onto the round richness, as does the accompanying tart dip.

If fish isn't your thing, opt for the cazuela de camaron ($12). It's a strikingly similar dish served open-face on a sizzling platter. If all else fails, go for the beloved llapingacho ($9). Two thick mashed potato pancakes are griddled until crisp and daubed with a rich peanut sauce with butter, milk, green onions, and achiote. Sure, it comes with eggs and sausage, but this is a dish you can wolf down any time of day.

Mi Lindo Ecuador
8726 NW 26th St., Doral; 305-718-8577; Tuesday 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., Wednesday and Thursday 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., Friday through Sunday 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.

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Zachary Fagenson became the New Times Broward-Palm Beach restaurant critic in 2012 before taking up the post for Miami in 2014. He also works as a correspondent for Reuters.
Contact: Zachary Fagenson