The first time I saw a box of plantain was in 1989 on Portobello Road in London’s Notting Hill. I thought they were actually big bananas rotting in the sun. It was a Ghanaian chef who first cooked them for me, and in The Sugar Club Cookbook, I wrote this, which still holds true, about them: ‘For those not familiar with plantains, they are those huge “bananas” that you may have seen in Caribbean or African food stores and markets. They are sold in shades from green (hard, starchy and unripe) to yellow (firm and semi-sweet) to mottled brown (soft and sweet). When ripe they are very banana-like in taste, but their main use is as a source of starch in tropical cooking - and for this the less ripe fruit is normally chosen.’
For this recipe you want to use plantain that are yellow and just a little soft. I used large Scottish-diver-caught scallops for this dish but you may have to settle for smaller ones. I truly believe you should always serve the coral on your scallops - it still amazes me that the majority of restaurant chefs discard this part of the scallop. If you don’t eat shellfish, then this combination of fritter and salsa, without the scallop, is really tasty as it is, with the addition of some salad leaves instead.