Prawn plantain & corn sopes

Prawn plantain & corn sopes

Chris Middleton

In Mexico corn masa is used to make all sorts of little delicacies and snacks called antojitos. Here it is used to make sopes (pronounced so-pays). These addictive, crumbly dough cases are tart-like in appearance and traditionally shaped flat with a rim. Sopes can be filled with so many delicious ingredients, such as bean purée, chopped salad, salty cheese, shredded meat or spicy salsa. They can also be made larger for a great breakfast dish filled with braised tomatoes and chorizo topped with poached eggs. Here’s a more delicate approach, filling the tart with asparagus purée and achiote prawns (shrimp) along with plantain and corn, both everyday South American staples.


Quantity Ingredient
1 quantity Sopes dough
250ml Tomatillo verde

Achiote prawns

Quantity Ingredient
150g peeled and deveined prawns
2 tablespoons Achiote relish

Asparagus purée

Quantity Ingredient
200g thin asparagus, woody stems removed
1 1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil
20g unsalted butter
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons finely chopped tarragon or epazote leaves
90g low-fat sour cream
pinch ground cumin
sea salt, to taste


Quantity Ingredient
50g very thinly sliced streaky bacon, flat pancetta or cheek bacon
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
50g ripe plantain, peeled and cut into 1 cm slices
pinch sugar
pinch salt
20g butter
50g fresh or frozen corn kernels
50g fresh and cooked or frozen peas
salad burnet, watercress or young snow pea tendrils, to garnish
salted ricotta, finely crumbled, to garnish


  1. To prepare the achiote prawns, place the prawns and achiote relish in a small bowl and toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight.
  2. Preheat the oven to 180°C.
  3. For the asparagus purée, cut the tips off the asparagus and set aside. Cut the remaining asparagus into 2 cm lengths.
  4. Heat the oil and butter in a medium frying pan over low heat. Cook the garlic until softened. Add the asparagus and tarragon, cover and cook for 5 minutes, or until tender. Add 60 ml water and cook for a further 5 minutes, or until most of the water has been absorbed. Add the sour cream and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 2 minutes, or until reduced to a thick sauce. Transfer to a food processor and blend until smooth. Season with the cumin and salt. Set aside.
  5. To prepare the garnishes, lay the bacon slices on a baking tray, cover with baking paper and place another tray on top to flatten. Cook for 10–15 minutes until crisp and golden brown. Place on paper towel to drain. Tear into small pieces for garnishing.
  6. Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a medium frying pan over medium heat. Fry the plantain with the sugar and salt until golden and caramelised all over. Transfer to a bowl.
  7. Increase the heat to medium–high and add the remaining oil and the butter to the pan. Cook the achiote prawns for 30 seconds, add the asparagus tips, corn, peas and caramelised plantain and cook for a further minute or until cooked.
  8. Reheat the precooked sopes in the oven for 4 minutes or until warm.
  9. Reheat the asparagus purée over low heat.
  10. To assemble, fill the sopes with the asparagus purée and top with the achiote prawn and vegetable mixture.
  11. To serve, arrange the sopes on serving plates, placing teaspoons of purée underneath to secure. Drizzle tomatillo verde around and over the tartlets. Garnish with bacon, the salad burnet and salted ricotta.

Paul’s tip

  • The dish can be prepared with one garnish, e.g. just asparagus, and the sopes filled with a simple guacamole or Avocado crema.
Paul Wilson
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