Posted by: Erica Retrochef | April 25, 2011

Banana Scallops

I tend to go on retro recipe searches very intermittently; I’ll find dozens, bookmark them, and then (mostly) forget about them until it’s time to cook something “interesting” for the week. They are loosely organized, by whether it’s a dessert or entree or “something else,” by ingredients, or by name. My typical approach is randomly choosing three or four, then forcing Buzz to pick which is least (or most) scary. He tends to browse more carefully, searching for the seriously bizarre.

When he triumphantly discovered this in the list, I was baffled; I couldn’t remember ever seeing a retro recipe for scallops, especially scallops and bananas.

Learning that there weren’t any scallops didn’t really clarify anything.

Learning that this was supposed to be served as a “vegetable” was slightly unnerving.

Speaking of unnerving: is it just me, or is it awkward when your food cheerfully suggests itself as a main ingredient? This illustration is particularly bizarre, since there is a cheerful anthropomorphic banana offering itself for scalloping, but also dragging along a potato and carrot. If the banana’s intelligent enough to wear a hat, doesn’t that imply the root vegetables are also thinking, feeling creatures? (Does it count as cannibalism if a “vegetable” eats a vegetable?)

But hey, what’s a wacky food blog with no wacky food?


Melted fat or salad oil
1-1/2 teaspoons salt
1 egg, slightly beaten, or 1/4 cup evaporated milk
6 firm bananas
3/4 cup fine corn flake, bread or cracker crumbs or corn meal


For deep-fat frying, have deep kettle 1/2 to 2/3 full of melted fat or salad oil.

For shallow frying, have 1 inch of melted fat or oil in frying pan.

Heat fat to 375°F., or until a 1-inch cube of bread will brown in about 40 seconds. Add salt to egg or undiluted evaporated milk. Peel bananas and slice crosswise into pieces 3/4 to 1 inch thick. Dip into egg or milk. Drain. Roll in crumbs or corn meal.

Deep-fat fry or shallow fry in the hot fat 1-1/2 to 2 minutes, or until brown and tender. Drain well. Serve very hot. Six servings.

The proposed menu really needs little commentary:

  • Tomato Juice
  • Hamburgers
  • Banana Scallops
  • Cauliflower
  • Lettuce Salad
  • Orange Sherbet
  • Cookies
  • Beverage

If this is company dinner, I feel bad for the everyday dinner.

We decided to go with the cornmeal option for our banana scallops, since we had some and it tends to just sit around being unused.

One advantage of recipes like this is that the kids get to help (on everything but the frying).

Even tiny hands can cut bananas, since they’re soft enough that a butter knife works fine!

Eggs are riskier, since Mini-Buzz tends to rapidly stir, sloshing things everywhere; he was fairly well-behaved today, though.

Coating the banana chunks in egg, flour, and cornmeal is quick and easy.

Frying is also pretty quick and easy. Normally when you fry things, they start to get brown and yucky as the cooking proceeds oil gets dirty; in this case, the first few were brown and yucky, and the rest were a lovely golden color. (Weird.)

They came out pretty nicely! You’ll recall that last week’s Rice and Cheese Balls had only moderate structural integrity, but the Banana Scallops held together very well. (Basically, this means that Buzz has accidentally convinced me that he’s in charge of frying things from now on. HA.)

Of course, that golden crispy exterior is purely visual, and the real important question is how does it taste

Meh. If you like cornbread with warm bananas, then this is the dish for you! They might have been better with a finer cornmeal, since they had very crunchy outsides and very mushy insides. (Also, I think the banana pieces were somewhat too long; stick to 3/4 or 1-inch long, so you have single-bite chunks.)

DO NOT save leftovers, which will taste mushy, cold, and unpleasant.

Credit where credit is due: United Fruit Company created this recipe, and it was digitally shared with the world by bluwmongoose on Flickr. I mostly blame United Fruit Company.



  1. This reminds me a bit of a retro recipe I once tried: bacon-wrapped bananas. I figured that I like bacon and I like bananas, so why not? Turns out, there’s just something about a warm, cooked banana that is a little gag-inducing…

  2. And of course, for company dessert, you must follow this dish with Mock Apple Pie! (Now, if only we could think of a meat product to prepare to look like a vegetable, the visual tomfoolery would never end!)

    Fish really made of fruit
    Pie really made with crackers
    Veggies really made with meat

    Et voila! As Julia would say, “Bon Apetit!”

    • HAHAHAHAHAHA… I’ve seen “meat” made from veggies, but never the other way round! I can’t stop laughing at that concept 😀

  3. This website is AWESOME.

    Thank you for taking one for the team on most of these!

    I do have to say that my absolute favorite cookbook of all time is by the former Mrs. Iowa. It was a gift from my maternal grandmother to my father on the event of their marriage. (One of my favorite recipes is a chicken pate that is amazingly delicious, but nobody will actually try at parties because it looks so unusual)

    • Thanks!

      I really love the cookbooks that newlyweds used to get — it’s such a fun mixture of wonderful and “interesting” recipes, plus fun points on etiquette (e.g., “When meeting your husband at the train station when he gets home from work, always wear a dress!”). But they do have a larger proportion of practical, everyday-ingredient recipes.

      • My grandmother is giving us the cookbooks she received as wedding gifts the next time we visit her. There should be some useful info about 1940s cooking methods and some doubtless ridiculous recipes in there.

  4. Wild. The United Fruit Co. just would try to promote bananas that way. And it is *so* tacky, the whole menu. I have vague memories of when this was really what food was. Bad times … we’ve improved as a country in cuisine at least.

  5. I think this sounds tasty if you use green bananas. Think fried plantains.

  6. I actually think this would taste MUCH better with cornflake crumbs!! :3

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